Making basic grammatical errors weakens the impact of your copy and your integrity as a wordsmith.
Recently, I noticed a blog post – incidentally, from a writer – entitled: ‘Reasons I Love Monday’s’ [sic].
There’s nothing that gets my grammatical goat quite like an unnecessary apostrophe. And it’s a staggeringly-common mistake. A hotel has ‘two available meeting room’s’ [sic]. A local car garage offers ‘Repair’s’ [sic]. Honestly? It puts me off using the services.
The worst? Don’t even get me started on ‘SME’s’ [sic] *shudder*. Alarmingly common. Whether on a website, advert or Twitter bio, it’s worrying how many professionals can’t quite seem to get this one right.
Copywriters – including me – often flout, quite brazenly, conventional grammatical rules. And, for an editor and proofreader, it’s sometimes necessary to accept that (see what I did there?).
There are many rules that are made to be broken in the name of good copy. Traditional grammarians tell us that it’s wrong to begin your sentence with a conjunction (it sometimes is). But, it’s often better to begin your sentence in a grammatically-incorrect way that interrupts the reader, and is considerably superior to those read along sentences that continue for a while without allowing the reader to pause or digest (and breathe…).
It’s also advisable to ignore the ‘don’t end your sentence with a preposition’ rule to avoid being inappropriately formal, as it is not always suitable for the context in which we are working (sounds out of place, yes?).
Equally, single-sentence paragraphs can often have the highest impact.
I’m not expecting everyone to be fluent in every grammatical rule (thankfully, given my job). That said, the fundamental basics are pretty essential, particularly if, by trade, you work with words.
If you need a copywriter, it’s a good idea to hire one who knows the guidelines of grammar. Rules can occasionally be bent to suit the purpose of a piece; however, in most instances, you need to know that the work will be returned to you free from mistakes.
If you’re not a grammarian yourself, it can be tricky to establish whether the copywriter you’re considering hiring is good enough. However, there are a few things you can keep an eye on. Watch out for inconsistencies in capitalisation, a misunderstanding of the semi-colon, and even an inability to write ‘copywriter’ consistently within their own content. Sadly, I’ve seen these errors on websites belonging to people charging you money for their ‘professional writing services’.
If you don’t know the rules of grammar (and you’re not a writer), that’s OK. You can hire a professional who’ll sort your work out for you. My proofreading and copy-editing services start from just one hour’s work, which might be all you need to eliminate those pesky errors and project the right image to your customer base.
I’ve worked as a proofreader and copy-editor for over seven years, and I’ve edited copy for some major household names. Give me a call, and I can tell you about them.
Great copy is weakened by poor grammar. Avoid confusion and mistakes, and preserve your image, by getting in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org