What’s wrong with you guys? In the last week I have been online a lot, mostly because I’m at home recovering from pneumonia and catching up with my writing after a week in the hospital.
And what do I find in social media posts, blog posts, emails, web text, etc., written by intelligent, educated business folks but the following … and trust me, these represent the tip of the iceberg…
Excepted, when the write meant accepted
Heard, when the writer meant herd
Roll, when the writer meant role (several examples, mostly written by graduates)
Here, when the writer meant hear (a very senior medical professional with a Masters degree and many more qualifications)
Would of, when the writer meant would have (another very senior medical professional)
…and many, many more.
And writing mistakes from my own son, which breaks my heart
When my son was at high school I was concerned that his spelling, punctuation, grammar and syntax were not always that good, so tackled his English teacher at a parents’ evening.
Why, I asked, don’t you pick them up on mistakes in English?
His teacher responded…
“Oh, we don’t pick them up on spelling or grammar because we don’t want to interrupt their creative flow.”
Needless to say I didn’t argue … well, you don’t argue with your kid’s teacher, do you? … but I was mortified.
Creative flow? If it was art, would you let them draw a humpbacked giraffe when they’re supposed to be drawing a rattlesnake?
But now, it’s about getting stuff written and to hell with accuracy (and creativity)
…or so my son says. As I know only too well, writing for business is a long way away from writing essays about Shakespeare plays or Jane Austen novels.
Given that he works as an account manager for a logistics company and receives dozens if not hundreds of emails per day to which he must reply instantly, I suppose I must concede that there just isn’t time to check that spelling, punctuation, grammar and syntax are correct.
He smiles beatifically at Mommy and says in the real world, rather than the goo-goo writing world I inhabit, this is the way it is.
And to be honest, his points about using email to get points across quickly and without editing or correction, in a fast-moving business context, are understandable.
As long as they are accurate and do not mislead their readers.
However using mis-spelled words and other mistaken writing often can lead to much more serious consequences.
We will be looking at those in the next days and weeks here on HTWB.
In the meantime, try your hand at this simple quiz…enjoy!
Which of the following sentences use correct grammar?
_____1. I would have gone in his place, but he insisted that he was well enough for work
_____2. The report that I’ve wrote should be ready for our meeting tomorrow.
_____3. We really shouldn’t of been so argumentative with that new supplier.
_____4. Me and my manager drove to Bristol to see the HR team at Head Office.
_____5. It looks like it’s down to you and I to sort out this delivery problem.
_____6. The property comprises 3 bedrooms, a family bathroom, lounge/diner and kitchen.
Which of the following sentences use correct spelling?
_____7. He will be on leave next week, apparantly.
_____8. Here are some appropriate perimeters to use to judge the results.
_____9. Her car is in the workshop today to have its breaks done.
_____10. The CEO paid Maureen quite a nice compliment about her work today.
_____11. Irregardless of how late we need to stay on, we must complete this report today.
_____12. Wow! Did you see that flash of lightening?
Which of the following sentences use correct punctuation?
_____13. It’s only a matter of time before someone collides with the new fencing.
_____14. Womens’ and mens’ clothing are on the second floor.
_____15. We need to submit those figures to the Board in 3 day’s time.
_____16. The ladies’ room is just down the corridor to your right.
_____17. We need to buy more staples, printer cartridges and copier paper.
_____18. He looks very ill, we need to phone his wife and ask her to take him home.
Which of the following sentences use correct syntax?
_____19. Speaking as a professional, I would suggest you consider a lawsuit.
_____20. After giving a rousing speech, the entire audience applauded the CEO.
_____21. Dressed smartly with stunning jewellery, the Chairman was pleased to escort her to lunch.
_____22. Even though it was raining, he managed to walk between the buildings and stay dry.
_____23. The Chairman was accompanied by the Vice-Chairman holding the trophies and the CEO.
_____24. The HR Director towered over the President in very high heels.
Want to write better? Check us out here on HTWB. Answers in a couple of days…
And if you’d rather go straight to some excellent books to help you with your writing, click here.