The phrase “Grammar Nazi” might be familiar to you. It’s a rather less-than-respectful way of pointing out when someone takes an interest in the use of proper grammar on the Internet. However, the question really shouldn’t be “Why should I care about grammar?” but rather, “Why wouldn’t I?”
You don’t have to be some stuffy academic or a contender for Stephen King’s throne atop the literary universe to appreciate how bad grammar can seriously damage your credibility. I’m not just talking about off-the-cuff text messages to friends, either; you’d be surprised by how many “worldly” brands out there don’t take grammar seriously. Here’s why they should.
Credibility and Beyond
When you want to learn more about a particular person, brand or company, what do you do? There’s a good chance you set a course for their official website or social media page. If you should find that it’s riddled with spelling mistakes, poorly-worded posts or language that barely passes for English, what would you think of that person or brand?
You’d probably think they lack a certain attention to detail. You might even begin to question whether the product or service they’re selling is also of dubious quality.
We search the Internet for all kinds of things; suppose you were looking for something as innocuous as squirrel repellent or mosquito traps. You’re fairly likely to gravitate toward a company whose word you can trust when they talk about the effectiveness of their products. The aforementioned examples – Havahart and Mosquito Magnet, respectively – make a point of using excellent grammar across their main sites and their Facebook pages. They know what it means to put their best foot forward. Anything less would be a letdown, wouldn’t you agree? It’s due in no small part to their commitment to good grammar that you can believe them when they say that their products work.
How to Maintain Good Grammar
To some extent, carrying on about maintaining good grammar is going to make all of us feel as though we’re back in junior high, but maybe that’s what it takes.
Your online presence is an extension of who you are; its sole purpose is to increase awareness, and if done well, it will take off on its own
Imagine how disappointing it is for a customer to find a company that has something worthwhile to say, but can’t seem to get it out in a coherent manner. It’s like finding out your favorite musician exclusively uses Auto-Tune; they might have pretty words, but have no talent for presentation.
The most elementary advice I can give you is to read everything you write out loud. Better yet, get someone else to read it out loud. Obvious mistakes will jump out at you. Then, if you need a little bit of help nailing down the difference between “your” and “you’re,” take a look at CopyBlogger’s Grammar Goofs cheat-sheet.
The English language has suffered enough damage over the last few years. I’ll echo what I said above: You don’t need to sound like a pompous intellectual to get your point across, but maintaining your credibility means sounding smarter than, say, a 12-year-old.
People who use the Internet have certain standards when it comes to the companies and brands they interact with. Having standards of your own is the first step toward leaving a lasting impression on them.
Question: Have you seen companies promoting their services or communicating to their followers and visitors with poor grammar? What is your take on that?