Tip of the Week: Don’t Let Poor Grammar Affect Your Business
How bad would it have been if we instead entitled this article, “Don’t Let Poor Grammar Effect Your Business?” Even though it would’ve been a clever way to make a point about the perils of using poor grammar in business, there would still be a lot of folks who would spot the mistake and write off our company as incompetent. Herein lies the power of using proper grammar.
If someone writes with poor grammar, it shows you that they lack the motivation to pay attention to details. Even smart people can make grammatical mistakes when they aren’t paying attention. Using bad grammar can make anybody look bad. Of course, sometimes it’s not necessarily your fault when a mistake slips through quality control. Even the best word processors, which are designed to eliminate grammar and spelling errors, sometimes miss one. This is why proofreading any content you produce is important.
Answer this question honestly: Who would you rather do business with; someone who pays attention to details, or someone who overlooks them? That’s right - you want a business partner who pays attention to the details. Here are some common grammar mistakes that even the most diligent professionals make.
Alot vs A Lot
This is one of the most common mistakes that a lot of people make. If you want to express that you have an abundance of something in particular, there should be a space in “a lot.” Overall, though, there are better ways you can express this abundance to avoid this mistake, such as the words “many,” “plenty,” or “a considerable amount.”
Impact, Effect, and Affect
If you use “impact” as a verb, you should reassess what you are trying to express with the sentence. What you are really trying to say is that something is having an “effect” on something else. “Impact” itself should always be used as a noun (e.g. the article had a strong impact on the business industry), meaning that it is a person, place or thing, similar to the way we would treat our family members.
The difference between “affect” and “effect” is confusing for some people. “Effect” is a noun, similar to “impact,” only it has much better sentence flow in some situations. “Affect” is a verb, or an action word (i.e. this article is affecting your perception of grammar), and should be used if something is taking action against something else. Think of the “a” in “affect” as signifying action.
Principle and Principal
These two words are a nightmare for some people. A principle is a rule that one sets in place to guide others or themselves, while the term “principal” might dredge up bad memories of high school. Basically, the word “principal” is used as an adjective (e.g. following grammar is of principal importance).
By educating yourself about the rules of proper grammar, you’ll be able to make a good first impression on potential business leads, as well as impress those who have already been roped in. But, more importantly, you can get those grammar geeks off your back about not knowing the difference between “affect” and “effect.” For more business and productivity tips, call Directive at 607.433.2200.