Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Proper grammar seems to be a thing of the past — why stress about tiny technicalities, right? Wrong.
You should be a grammar stickler for many reasons. Do you want to risk turning off potential clients, employers and connections because of grammatical mistakes?
Many people are so concerned with what they are saying in an email or text message that they completely forget to pay attention to how they are saying it. If you chose to turn grammar mode off when you are communicating with friends, that is one thing, but there is absolutely no reason to send a professional communication that contains errors.
Related: Simple Grammar Tips for Small Businesses
Here are six grammatical errors that are so simple, yet such common offenders. Make sure you aren’t making them.
This is probably the most common mistake I see on social media, in text messages and in emails. This one is real simple — if you are trying to say “you are” then “you’re” is correct. If you are talking about something that belongs to you, such as “your car” then you use “your.”
Many people confuse these and don’t even realize they are doing it. It’s real easy — “two” is a number, “too” is an adverb that means “also,” and “to” is a preposition used to express motion, direction, limit of movement, contact, a point of limit in time, purpose, intention and destination — to name a few.
“I would like to become an entrepreneur.”
“I too would like to become an entrepreneur.”
What should have been squared away in third grade continues to haunt grammar police on a daily basis. The there/their/they’re mistake is common — but it’s really simple to avoid.
Use “they’re” when you are trying to say “they are.”
“Their” should be used when you are indicating possession.
Finally, “there” needs to be used when referring to a location.
Example: “They’re going to love working there. Their company culture is amazing!”
This one is really just pure laziness rather than a grammatical mistake. Texting has completely ruined grammar and you/u is a perfect example. I understand that “u” is perfectly acceptable if you are texting a friend and are in a rush — but it’s not acceptable in a professional email.
Related: How to Avoid 7 of the Most Humiliating Proofreading Mishaps
Here is an excerpt of an email I received last week from a C-level executive who is in charge of a company that does business worth several hundreds of millions of dollars every year:
… that would be gr8! Talk to u soon!
He managed to nail two text slangs back to back like a champ. Again, if it was a text message, fine — but a professional email is no place for this. This email is actually what sparked me to write this article, so thank you grammatically challenged C-level executive.
When you are talking about time you use “then” and when you are making a comparison you use “than.” It really shouldn’t be that difficult to distinguish what one to use:
“We are going to grab a quick bite to eat and then head back to the office.”
“This new software update is much better than the previous version.”
This one confuses a lot of people, mainly due to the apostrophe, which typically symbolizes possession. Use “it’s” when you are trying to say “it is” and use “its” when you are looking for the possessive form of “it.”
“I looked at its owners manual to get the correct settings.”
“It’s a beautiful day outside.”
What are some other grammar mishaps that drive you nuts? Share them in the comments section below.
Related: Weird Al’s ‘Word Crimes’ Could Actually Make You a Better Communicator
Leave a Reply