7 Grammar Mistakes To Avoid In Business Writing
Updated: Jul 18, 2019
We'd all love for everything we write to be error-free. Unfortunately, grammar mistakes happen even to the best of us, whether it's in a text message, social media post, article, or you're a business owner working on your next blog, press release, or newsletter.
As a writer and editor at Edit This® who works with companies every day on written copy, I can promise you it's always good to have an extra set of eyes looking over your material.
There are, of course, plenty of longer lists out there with even more grammar mistakes to avoid in business writing, but below are the seven that I see the most in my daily adventures with the written word.
Using apostrophes to pluralize last names
Many people think adding an apostrophe to their last name – usually on holiday greeting cards to friends, family, and clients – makes it plural (ex: Merry Christmas from the Gamel's). This is wrong. It should be, "Merry Christmas from the Gamels." I wrote a separate blog post about it if you'd like to learn how to avoid the same grammar mistake.
Periods and commas outside quotation marks
Quotes are used in print and online copy all the time. But they aren't always formatted correctly. In the United States, periods and commas go inside quotation marks, not outside. For example. "Our earnings this quarter are because of the hard work of our employees," Director John Doe said. "This is already a banner year for the company."
Your vs. You're
I find and correct this grammar mistake equally in personal and business writing, and it is one of the more harped on flubs by Grammar Nazis all over the world. Your is meant to show possession while You're is merely an abbreviation of you are. Read a lot more on this topic by clicking this blog post on the differences between your and you're.
Using the wrong word
I usually see this with homophones, words that sound the same but have different meanings and spellings. Examples include Reign vs. Rein, Waver vs. Waiver, Roll vs. Role, and Compliment vs. Complement. I know; the English language is so complicated.
It vs. They
When writing about a company, remember the organization is a thing and should be referred to as "it." For example, "Edit This is a writing and editing services company. It is located in Denton, Texas." The actual people who work for the company should be referred to as "they." For example, "Steve Gamel and his team at Edit This are located in Denton, Texas. They provide writing and editing services."
Misuse of commas
I've found that commas are quite vexing. People either use them too much or not enough in all forms of written copy, and then there's that whole Oxford Comma debate. When used correctly, they make your writing crystal clear for the reader. Business Insider had a blog post several years ago with 13 rules for using commas without looking like an idiot.
It's vs. Its
I'll be short and sweet with this one. Just like your vs. you're, it's is short for it is or it has. For example: "It's so hot in this office." Its is possessive. For example: "You can recognize an Edit This blog by its fun and clever way of getting a point across."
Call Edit This in Denton, TX for all your writing and editing needs
It's fun to tease friends on Facebook or point out errors in written copy, but any spelling or grammar error in business writing – brochures, advertisements, your website copy, blogs, press releases, newsletters, a postcard, etc. – wreak havoc on your company's image. In fact, studies consistently show that when choosing between two companies, most customers prefer the one with clear and error-free written communication.
If you're interested in having Edit This handle your company's content writing and editing needs, give us a call today! We can write copy from scratch or spruce up what you already have. Bottom line, when it comes to grammar, everyone could use an extra set of eyes.
*STEVE GAMEL is the President & Owner of Edit This, LLC, a writing and editing services company located in Denton, TX. Steve handles anything involving the written word. Give him a call today to help give your business a clear voice.
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