This little gem caught my eye: According to a recent study*, the likelihood of getting a response from your email drops 15 percent if it contains a grammatical error. If it contains multiple errors, the chance of you getting a reply drops even more. Don’t let poor grammar impact your reputation, integrity and your bottom line. These tips can help:
Grammar tips for business leaders
- Don’t overuse apostrophes. The general rule is that apostrophes show possession or omission. Take this online quiz to test your knowledge.
- Embrace the correct use of I. Most of the time use “I” not “myself”. “Myself” and other reflexive pronouns, such as “himself” and “themselves”, are always the object of the sentence. For example, “I see myself in the mirror.”
- Use commas wisely. Use commas to set off introductory phrases and independent clauses. For example, “After reviewing the report, I agree with the recommendation.”
- Mind your capitalization. Here’s an error I often see: Seasons are only capitalized at the beginning of a sentence.
- Know your homophones. These are words that sound alike but have different meanings, such as their and there, and hear and here. Most spell checkers can’t discriminate these so be extra diligent when using them. I’ve included my business homophone cheat sheet below. To ensure your business communications aren’t hindering your success, bookmark this page.
The Message Maven’s business homophone cheat sheet
|Affect (verb): Your grammar affects your reputation.||Effect (noun): Many medications have side effects.|
|Capital: The company increased capital spending.||Capitol: I visited the Capitol to talk with the senator.|
|Complement: The red shoes complement her bag.||Compliment: He appreciated the compliment about his new tie.|
|Counsel: Seek counsel about the legal matter.||Council: I spoke with council member about the new development.|
|Discreet: Be discreet about the personal situation.||Discrete: The outages were individual, discrete events.|
|Ensure: It’s my job to ensure you communicate effectively.||Insure: Talk to an agent to insure your new boat.|
|Principal: I spoke with the school principal.||Principle: Being true to yourself is a good principle to live by.|
|Than: Some people have bigger offices than you.||Then: I wrote an email then proofed it.|