Of Course Good Spelling and Grammar Matter

Would you trust these teachers?

January 2012 has seen a glut of posts claiming that correct spelling just isn’t that important when you’re writing for the web. That “sloppy mechanics” will actually enhance the work you’re pumping out on your blog.

[Good writers fail online] because they’re style is too stiff.

This is absolute bollocks.

Good Spelling Matters

If you’re writing a blog, then you’re attempting to set yourself up as a credible authority in your field. You need to present yourself as a professional, conscientious writer that takes the time to ensure that their work is coherent, competent and well-crafted.

Spelling and grammar mistakes destroy your credibility.

By portraying yourself as the sort of person who can’t be mithered to proof-read their work, you’re not coming across as professional. You’re coming across as lazy and lax.

When a reader sees a blog post packed full of errors, they don’t see an enhanced piece. They see a writer who’s not motivated enough to cast a cursory glance back over their work. And if a writer can’t be bothered checking spellings, can they be bothered checking facts?

Poor spelling and grammar undermines your credibility.

If you don’t want to be taken seriously, why are you blogging?

6 Comments comments for "Of Course Good Spelling and Grammar Matter"

  1. Gareth Cook says:

    Well said Andrew. I simply don’t understand the argument that correct spelling and grammar aren’t important in the digital age. Content may be king for some people, but for many of us, sloppy copy with spelling mistakes is devalued. Not to be trusted. It’s good to see someone standing up for accuracy. Often when you cite the importance of good spelling and grammar you’re labelled a pedant, but that’s just a lazy, knee-jerk defence from someone who’s been caught out being lazy themselves.

    Call me a pedant all you want, but I won’t use a website, business or service if I see spelling mistakes and grammatical errors in their copy. If they can’t get the basics right, their attitude to providing excellence service is unlikely to bring much joy. The point is, there’s plenty of choice out there for whatever service you’re looking for: why shouldn’t accuracy in communication be a differentiator?

    I talked here //justtherightwords.co.uk/2011/07/15/accuracy-counts-as-mistakes-cost-millions/ about the importance of accuracy for businesses in terms of customer trust, but I think that any self-respecting blogger owes it to themselves and their audience to get the little things right.

  2. Carol says:

    Couldn’t agree more. But I am astounded how easily mistakes creep through no matter how often I review my copy. In the interest of grammatical correctness, I am forced to point out that “Of course good spelling and grammar matter” – no ‘s’ – plural subject, plural verb 😉

  3. Chris HELP! says:

    Thanks for commenting on my post. The point here is that business owners are often scared away from blogging because they think they aren’t good writers. However, you don’t necessarily have to have an English degree to write a blog.

    Of course I’m not implying that you should churn out half-assed work. Especially as a copywriter. But you also shouldn’t get so bent out shape with mechanics that you decide not to blog at all.

    People need to loosen up. And this is coming from someone who is known to call people out on grammatical errors all the time.

    Spelling–that’s a different matter altogether. In this age of spell check, not fixing these sorts of errors is sloppy.

  4. Rachel Peterson (@racheledits) says:

    Yes, yes, yes!! Thank you for saying the obvious that just needed to be said. The writing, I find, isn’t what takes the longest; it’s the editing, and it just delays the churning out of posts that some feel they are pressured to do, but at least the posts would be more accurate and less jarring to read. Quality over quantity.

  5. Nancy Lamb says:

    Hi all,
    It is funny to see this today. Just yesterday I sent an email with my words twisted badly enough I worry I have dementia. It was that bad! The saving grace is that I sent the note to a dear friend. The scary part is God knows how many opportunities I have lost because of such sloppiness.

    WE ARE WRITERS. We need to present ourself as professionals. Quality counts! And every time I make these mistakes, I cringe. Why? Because I know my readers are relatively educated. They are normal people, not picky editors.

    If your readers graduated from high school, and most have, then they are usually trained well enough to subconsciously see these errors. It’s not their fault. They learned correctly. The errors we fail to correct stand out to readers as if they are yellow highlighted. Our subconscious mind somehow goes back to check it, fails to let it go, and in the root of our judgement, we tend to bookmark that as either ineptitude or plain sloppiness.

    My mother was a health editor for a national magazine. She couldn’t help herself when she saw typos, bad grammar, poor spelling, and worse. She’d fume. She’d rant. She couldn’t let it go! It was just wrong.

    That, I presume, is how we all react when we read obviously unedited work. That is also why its suggested that we edit our work a day after writing it. Or read it aloud. And that goes the same for online writing, whether it is a blog, a tweet, a Facebook post, or a full article for your niche market.

    Whether the writer is a paid professional, a business owner, or an employee, whatever they put online needs to be written well enough that the readers get the subtle message of a professional. If they are uncomfortable writing, they serve themselves best by hiring a writer and collaborating on the polishing and editing.

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