Language Basics for Business Bloggers – Part A

“Keep in mind that apostrophes are never used to form a plural word; they are used only in contractions and when creating the possessive form,” Brian Klems reminds readers of The Writer’s Digest Yearbook.

The basic concept behind this treasure chest of a magazine: Writers learn about hooking readers and wowing fans, but it’s important for them to go back and review fundamental writing tools. “Without a base, there’s nothing to build upon,” says Tiffany Lucket.  The Digest’s executive editor is addressing novelists, but blog content writers are equally in need of such a reminder.

And speaking of apostrophes, I find misuse of them nothing short of rife in business blogs, beginning with the use of “it’s” as a pronoun. (“You need to see this furniture to appreciate it’s beauty. Oh, Gawd…).

Brian Klems goes on to describe a related apostrophe question: Should you use the apostrophe to form a plural word when a name ends in the letter S? In a word, no, no. no!  We keep up with the Joneses, not with the Jones’. Of course, if you’re trying to have your cat keep up with the Jones’ pet, the apostrophe would be very apropos as a possessive.

What’s the big deal? Grammar mistakes in content writing for business are very much like the much-publicized TV star wardrobe mishaps in that they call attention away from the kind of impression we intend to make on behalf of our businesses or professional practices.  (Yes, I’ve been accused of being a “grammar Nazi”, and yes, it’s true that most readers won’t catch the grammar errors. But, can you afford to lose the respect of even a few?)

Assuming all content writers would at least reluctantly concede the answer to that question is  “no”, I’m devoting all of this week’s Say It For You blog posts to language basics covered in the Writer’s Digest Yearbook. IT”S elementary. Blog WRITERS’  AND BLOG WRITERS’ CLIENTS’ reputations need protection against grammar and vocabulary mishaps!  Repeat after me: apostrophes are never used to form plural words, and “its” would have one only if you mean “it is”.

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