There’s no shortage of articles about the enduring importance of good grammar in the modern business world. They illuminate the ways it bestows credibility on the writer, indicates professionalism, and ensures clarity and accuracy. As a grammar nut myself, I couldn’t agree more. But there’s one more thing I’d like to add to that list: bad grammar is bad PR.
Grammar gaffes go viral quickly. Just last week the world collectively snickered at attempts by Britain’s Labour Party to mock the Tories’ education record with an email titled “NEWS FROM LABOUR: Nothing is doing more to damage English & maths education than the Tory’s failure to recruit enough good teachers.” Mistakes like this used to inspire a chuckle and then fade, but today they are broadcast worldwide.
Don’t underestimate the negative reactions to poor writing. Grammarly recently released a fun infographic that notes the impact of writing skills on online dating success. The company found that just two spelling errors in a man’s online dating profile reduced his chances of a response by 14%, and that “both men and women rank grammar more important than confidence in a potential date.”
This isn’t limited by demographics, either. Millennials are actually more likely to be irked by grammar mistakes than other age groups. “While we’d assume they’d be accustomed to seeing and using abbreviated speech and lingo because they are a tech-savvy generation, we actually found that they have much higher standards,” a Harris poll found last summer.
The takeaway? If professionalism and clarity aren’t enough motivation, just remember what a mess the clean-up will be when everyone is laughing at you. Then proofread, proofread, ask a friend to proofread, ask another, and then proofread again.