And even then, there are exceptions to the rule. I’ve always been a stickler for correct grammar, and feel that when it comes to content and any form of written communication, it’s not only necessary, but a sign that you’ve taken extra care. Correct spelling and grammar is important because they aid comprehension, avoid confusion and ensure readers can derive the intended meaning from the content before them. Now I know that writing carefully-crafted sentences doesn’t come naturally to everyone, and that some people think that a missing comma or apostrophe here and there isn’t going to make too much of a difference. But let me tell you, it sure does. As Kate Cocker recently stated at this year’s virtual Northern Marketing Awards, ‘‘Good content is knowing the difference between ‘you’re shit’ and ‘your shit.’’’ So I thought it about time I write a blog on the importance of good grammar, going through rules everyone should know, and pointing out some common mistakes we all make, so that going forward, we can try and avoid them altogether.
The Importance of Good Grammar.
There are many reasons why good grammar is key to great work. These reasons include:
- To avoid confusion with words that sound, or are spelt, the same way.
- To provide actual meaning. For example, discrete and discreet may sound similar, but in actuality mean two different things. Discrete means separate, whereas discreet means carrying out a behaviour quietly, and without offence.
- Helps you to communicate clearly so that the intended reader understands your points.
On the other hand, bad grammar and grammatical errors can detract from the message you are trying to convey. It can lead to confusion, misunderstandings and missed opportunities. From personal experience, I won’t give a CV a second glance if I see typos.
Grammar Rules Everyone Should Know
I do however understand that English grammar can be confusing, especially when it comes to special rules and exceptions. That being said, there are a few basic rules that we all learnt in primary school and really should try our best to remember when it comes to creating content – whether that’s blogs, articles, PPC ads or social media ads – for example. What follows are some basic grammar rules that everyone should know:
Their vs. They’re vs. There
These three words may all sound the same, but have very different meanings:
- Their – To show possessiveness and is used before a noun.
- They’re – The contraction of “they are,” and is used to describe a group of people’s activities, or general feelings.
- There – To show where something is or represents that something exists.
Example: Their parents live in France, and they’re flying to Paris to be there with them for their fortieth wedding anniversary.
You’re vs. Your
- You’re – The contraction of “you are”.
- Your – To show possessiveness and is used before nouns, just like “their.”
Example: You know what you’re doing. Please ensure that you take care with your grammar going forward.
It’s vs. Its
- It’s – The contraction of ‘’it is’’ or ‘’it has’’.
- Its – Possessive and doesn’t need an apostrophe. For example, the dog had caught its ball.
Example: It’s a sunny day, and therefore a good one for a dog to be chasing its frisbee.
Affect vs. Effect
- Affect – A verb that means to influence something.
- Effect – A noun which is the result of an impact.
Example: Technology may affect culture, but Tim found that his new smartphone didn’t have much effect on his life.
Knowing when to capitalize letters
One of the most common reasons to capitalize is when you are using a proper noun. Proper nouns include:
- Specific places.
- Words of address, such as “Could you get my bag, Mum?”.
- Days of the week.
- Months of the year.
- Job titles.
A comma (,) is a punctuation mark used to denote a pause in the sentence. It is used to show the difference between two separate ideas or elements within a sentence. Basic comma rules include using commas to:
- Separate a series of words.
For example: He was tall, dark, and handsome.
- Separate a series of phrases.
For example: I like reading books, listening to music, watching TV, and studying English.
- Connect two independent clauses.
For example: He walked all the way home, and he shut the door.
- Set off introductory phrases or clauses.
For example: Having finally arrived in town, we went shopping.
- Used after certain words that introduce a sentence.
For example: Well, I’m not going home on foot, at any rate.
- Separate the quoted parts.
For example: The teacher asked, “Do you love English?”
- Set off phrases to express contrast.
For example: The golden age is before us, not behind us.
- Avoid confusion.
For example: I saw that she was busy, and prepared to leave.
- Set off expressions that interrupt the sentence flow.
For example: This, after all, is a company which is full of talented people.
- Separate dates, years and addresses.
For example: We will meet Friday, July 15th.
- Separate a statement from a tag question.
For example: Let’s take the next bus, shall we?
Commas come in very handy, as you’ll see.
Perfect grammar doesn’t come naturally to everyone, and it can take some time for even the most basic of rules to sink in. That being said, we should all be trying our best to write in coherent sentences, so that the intended meaning is not lost on the reader. If you’re finding this difficult, I recommend installing Grammarly, and always check through your work and emails before setting them live or sending them off. And if you’d like help creating fantastic content that your clients will just love, we recommend giving Embryo Digital a call today on 0161 327 2635 to learn more.