By Emma Clarke
It’s easy to get confused when thinking about grammar. However, it’s important to get it right because clients care about syntax. Tesco was forced to remove their “ten items or less” signs and replace them with a new “up to 10 items” version after customers complained about this grammatical mistake. Apart from the financial cost of producing alternative signs; it’s quite embarrassing for the company.
In this blog we discuss 5 common grammatical mistakes which could be harming your brand’s image.
1. Fewer vs. Less
“We had less problems this month.” Incorrect.
“We had fewer problems this month.” Correct.
If the noun is quantifiable then you should use “fewer”. In other words, if you can count them then write “fewer”: less sugar; fewer sugar cubes. Although, it must be mentioned that periods of time require “less” – “the meeting took less than 30 minutes.”
2. “I should have checked that email…”
Sadly, it is becoming more and more common to see “could of,” “should of” on the internet. What they really mean is “could’ve” and “should’ve”, but because “of” and “‘ve” sound so similar, not everyone is aware of the difference. It’s worth double-checking in order to ensure that you make the best possible impression – even in that brief email.
3. Wolfestone is vs. Wolfestone are
Businesses generally always employ more than one person; therefore it is often assumed that they are plural nouns. However, it is actually grammatically correct to use the singular, e.g. “Wolfestone is expanding into new technologies.” Keep this in mind the next time you document your company’s news.
4. Affect vs. Effect
Simply put, affect is almost always verb and effect is a noun. Now let’s put that into context:
“The software is affecting sales.”
“Yes, but the effect is negligible.”
A useful way to remember the difference is that “affect” refers to the action and “effect” refers to the result.
5. Is it me?
“Me and Jack discussed the proposal.” Incorrect.
“Jack and I discussed the proposal.” Correct.
It can be tricky to work out whether to use “me” or “I” in certain sentences. The first step is to be courteous and put the other person first. The second step is to think about how the sentence would sound without the other name (“I discussed the proposal”). Therefore, contrary to popular belief, it is not always correct to use “I”, for example, “Meredith sent the agenda to Amanda and me.”
In America there is even a day dedicated to grammar (4th of March). This date was chosen because the founder wanted everyone to March forth and uphold good grammar – get it? Is grammar taken less seriously in the UK?
Do grammatical errors make your blood boil? Can you think of any other examples? Do you think that content is more important?
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