Establishing yourself as a trustworthy brand is essential for growing your business – and that all begins by creating consistent, high quality content.
Whether you’re drafting outreach emails, social media posts, or creating copy for a physical brochure, it’s vital that you pay close attention to your spelling and grammar.
Poor spelling and grammar might not seem like a big deal, but they can actually mean very bad news for your business. Silly mistakes damage your credibility, make you seem uneducated and lazy, and make you seem less trustworthy or capable.
Mistakes are easily made. But don’t risk damaging your reputation with mistakes that can just as easily be avoided. And sure, there’s Grammarly but are you really going to use that EVERY time you write an email?
Here are the most common spelling and grammar mistakes to watch out for when creating content or communicating with prospects or clients.
Incorrect Use of Apostrophes
Apostrophes denote possession – never plurality. E.g. “The robot’s were attacking.” Is incorrect. This should be “The robots were attacking.”
Apostrophes should be used at the end of a name or word to show possession, e.g. “Joey’s Pizza”. If the word ends in “s”, you can write the apostrophe either at the end of the word, or with an additional “s”, e.g. “Lucas’ apple / Lucas’s apple” are both correct.
With a plural, add the apostrophe like this: “The boys’ house / The children’s ball.”
“To” vs “Too”
“To” is generally a preposition, e.g. “I am going to the shop.”
“Too” can mean “also”, e.g. “Joey is going to the shop too.”
“Too” can also mean “excessively”, e.g. “I ate too much cake.”
“Myself” vs “Me” or “Yourself” vs “You”
This one drives me particularly crazy as I see people using it incorrectly all the time. Ironically, the error is most commonly made when people are trying to be “fancy” with their writing when in fact, it makes them look silly.
“Myself” (or “yourself”) is correctly used when the sentence has already featured the word “me”/“I” (or “you”), e.g. “I thought I might treat myself” or “Allow me to introduce myself”. The same applies for phrases where the “you” is missing but is implied, e.g. “Help yourself” works because the full sentence is “You may help yourself”.
It’s incorrect to say “Would it be yourself going?” Or “I am sending this on to yourself to consider.” because “you” doesn’t feature earlier in the sentence.
“You and me” vs “You and I’
This is another example of where people try to be “fancy” with their writing and get it wrong. Most people tend to opt for “you and me” at all times to be safe.
The trick when trying to work out whether you say “me” or “I’ in a sentence, is to take away the other person and see which word works. E.g. “It will be Katie and I/me going to the meeting later”. If you remove Katie, you’d say “It will be me going to the meeting later” so the correct word to choose is “me”.
Likewise for “Joe and me/I don’t see eye to eye”, it’s “I don’t see eye to eye” when you remove the other person from the sentence so the correct word would be “I”.
“Your” vs “You’re”
“Your” is an adjective that denotes possession, e.g. “Is this your house?” or “Your dress is beautiful.”
“You’re” is a contraction of “you are”, e.g. “You’re doing great” and “If you’re ready, let’s go.”
Still unsure? Change the word to “you are” and if your sentence still makes sense, “you’re” is the correct one; if not, use “your”.
‘Its’ vs ‘It’s’
Just like the one before, it helps to break this one up. “It’s” is a contraction of “it is”, e.g. “It’s going to rain tonight” or “It’s a hard knock life”. If you’re not sure, change the word to “it is” and if your sentence still makes sense, “it’s” is the correct one; if not, use “its”.
“Its” without the apostrophe denotes possession (just like his, her and my), e.g. “The dog wagged its tail” or “The business needed its director”.
Not Adjusting to Your Audience
Don’t assume that just because you’re writing for an English-speaking audience that they all have the same spelling and grammar rules.
For example, a UK audience spells it “colour” and “favourite”, whereas as a US would use “color” and “favorite” without the “u”. In the UK, it is written “aging”; in the US it is “ageing”.
Make sure you’re aware of the differences when writing for different customers.
Easily made – just as easily corrected, avoid these spelling and grammar mistakes and your business will thank you for it. If you’re not a natural writer, it might take a while for the rules to become ingrained, but it just takes practice. Always have someone proofread your work before making it public, especially when you’re just starting off, and if you get stuck, consider hiring a professional copywriter to do the work for you.
Keep your copy sharp and your business will climb new heights . We wish you all the best with your venture.