Wherther or nt you lyk it, the turht remians the truht. A CV, socail profile, blogg, tweeet, statis apdate, articil or posteng on a commints paig somewher, is a misiry-inducign and scratchilly iritating thing to raed wen pepered with speling mistekes, gramatical iniconsistensies and a generl torturus use of the Englesh languige.
You’re allowed ten seconds to recover from the above.
Anything you publish - a simple tweet or a full article – needs to read flawlessly. Your actual writing skills perhaps won’t compete with those of renowned scribes in the industry. But from a grammatical perspective, there is no excuse for coming across as someone too lazy, too complacent or too rushed to re-read their own words.
If the first point is that mistakes are not acceptable, the second is that reliance on spell-check is equally unacceptable. Someone we know has an interesting name that, if run through spell-check, reproduces as ‘Incongruous’ or ‘Annoying’. A cover letter to the head of talent acquisition, boldly addressed to Dear Annoying, is unlikely to bring rewarding career opportunities your way.
Help for the spelling-challenged
With the advent of innumerable word-assist programmes and spell-check tools, online dictionaries and thesauri (‘thesauruses’ to non-geeks) that go beyond Microsoft spell-check, there is no excuse to submit a document or even a tweet in language pock-marked with errors.
Using them is not unlike getting dressed – but having the sense to stand in front of a full-length mirror before you leave the house. Although you picked out the pieces yourself, your overall look may be quite different to what you imagined.
Three reasons good grammar counts
Those who love grammar will tell you it counts ‘because it does’. But let’s take a more holistic view:
• The words you give the world are your virtual clothing. They convey your attention to detail and your pride – or lack thereof – in your image.
• About 300 years ago, you ran out of excuses for not knowing how to check your spelling. For as long as written and printed words have been around and accessible to a larger populace, there has been recourse to better spelling and grammar.
• You will always impress people with a well-written piece, whether or not you intend to. Even bad spellers recognise good spelling. Content is a separate area of strength but flawless spelling and grammar immediately buy you extra credibility. A poorly-constructed piece can sound the death knell for an otherwise impressive piece of work.
The thing about words is that when people can’t see you or hear you - but can read you - then words are all you have. They might not come easy, but at least they should come tidy.