Of the two types of people who make up the English-speaking world, I find myself among the minority who believe proper grammar and spelling matter on business websites and in business blogs.
You might certainly attribute my near-obsession on the subject of good language usage to the fact that I’m a former teacher and current college mentor, but you’d be missing the point. We’re talking about business blogs and websites here. In discussions at networking meetings, I discovered, the mainstream mindset is that, in our digital world, nobody notices grammar and spelling errors, and if they did, they wouldn’t care about the matter.
However, through the twin miracles of business networking and online search, I was able to locate three grammar-conscious kindred spirits:
Indiana’s governor Mitch Daniels:
In his commencement address at last summer’s Ivy Tech Community College graduation, the governor urged young people to gain command of the English language. He told them to drop expressions such as "You guys" and to stop inserting the word "like" in every sentence. "Losing the like" should be a goal, Daniels said.
Robin Thompson, owner of Etiquette Network:
"People will judge you by the way you speak," says Thompson. "Good grammar is representative of you and your character."
Carl Mattius, blogger:
"People have said that grammar and spelling don’t convey intelligence, but they do convey something. If you’re not willing to take time to properly type out what you’re trying to say, why should anyone waste time trying to read it?"
In former blog posts, I did my best to impart the idea that when your blog is posted in the name of your business, you’re really "putting yourself out there". (In fact, the World Wide Web is as far "out there" as you can get!) Here’s the thing: You always want to be sure poor usage and misspelled words aren’t distracting any of your readers, (even if most don’t notice and don’t care) from your business message.
My brother-in-law Joey sent me an email that made me realize there’s an even more important reason to use proper grammar and sentence structure – making your message clear. The email contained a list of sentences that were actually typed by medical secretaries in Glasgow in reports to physicians:
"Patient has chest pain if she lies on her left side for over a year."
"On the second day the knee was better and on the third day it disappeared."
"The patient suffers from occasional, constant, infrequent headaches."
"By the time he was admitted, his rapid heart had stopped."
"Discharge status: Alive, but without my permission."
(Scary, isn’t it? Our own doctors might be reading reports such as these…)
The bottom line for blogging is this: Words, along with the way they are used, are a blogger’s only tools for engaging readers. If the message you want to convey (and I’m sure it is) is that every product and service you offer is a thing of excellence – use your own language with excellence!