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Why word choice and grammar really do matter

Marte Cliff is spot on in this blog post. I couldn't agree with her more, and she said it so well there is no reason for me to write it myself. Therefore it's worthy of a reblog. 

Notes:

I am not a copywriter, I will leave that to Marte, so head her direction, subscribe to her blog and newsletter, and keep her in mind for your copywriting needs.

I am an editor and proofreader. If you need any help (and everyone does!) editing and/or proofreading your marketing copy, newsletters, blog posts, listings, etc., keep me in mind and check out my website, bolesediting.com.

 

Check out my blog post: Boles Editing and Proofreading

When you write to a friend or family member, you might be able to get away with not being correct. After all, if they love you, they’ll figure out what you meant and forgive you for confusing them. Or, they might call and say “What the heck were you trying to say?”

When you write to a client or a would-be client, it’s a different story.grammar book

Your words need to mean what they say – just as you mean what you say when you speak to them in person.

I think the whole point of writing is to communicate. Don't you agree?

When you use the wrong word, communication comes to a halt.

When you're speaking, everyone intuatively knows what you mean when you say words like ad, ate, feat, lie, and billed. If you're communicating in a letter or email and write add, eight, feet, lye, or build instead, your reader will be be instantly confused.

Unfortunately, our language is filled with these homophones: words that sound alike but are spelled differently and have entirely different meanings. One list I found on line lists 441 such pairs.

If you want to communicate, it's imporant to spell the word you mean.

Here in the Rain (not the rein or the reign) I see a lot of people using “there” when they mean “their” and “hear” when they mean “here.”

I've also seen sentences similar to: “I ate the last donut because I didn’t want it to go to waist.” What does that mean? If you ate it, it’s definitely going to your waist. Whose waist are you talking about?

How about if you said you like to go walking in the rein? Does that mean anything at all? Nope. Just gibberish.

When you’re writing to people who know the difference, those errors can destroy communication. They force the reader to stop, read it again, and determine what you meant to say.

The flow of thoughts and ideas from you to the reader simply stops.

It has to be torture for those who are learning English as a 2nd or 3rd language. I greatly admire those who have mastered it, especially since so many who speak nothing but English have not.

(And no – I’m not the ultimate expert. I often have questions, so I consult Grammar Girl to see if I’m getting things right.)

Misspellings that don't even sound alike...

If the writer would take time to read aloud what they wrote, they probably wouldn't happen.

For instance, there is a big difference between advice (a noun, whose ending is prounced "ice") and advise (a verb, whose ending is pronounced "ize"). When you use the wrong one, some of your readers are going to think "Ouch!"

Mistakes like those can make a reader stop right there - and then never get back to reading the rest of the message.

If your words don’t make sense to your reader, what is the purpose of writing them?

Then there are the grammar errors.

Last week I attended a property assessment dispute hearing. The man ahead of me was explaining his situation and kept using “Myself and my wife” as the subject of his sentences. Once in a while he got a little more polite and said “My wife and myself.” I had to grit my teeth to keep from correcting him. And he said it a lot.

I’m glad it didn’t matter that I don’t know what came after that, because my brain stopped right there… just as some of your readers’ minds will stop if you make a similar mistake.

To be fair: I’m sure some people incorrectly use the word “myself” because some teacher somewhere along the line told them not to say “I.” The trouble is, sometimes “I” is the proper word to use. "Myself" is only proper as a reflexive pronoun - when you're referring back to yourself.

Examples: "I went to the movies by myself", or "Speaking for myself..."

The bottom line: If you aren’t sure about spelling or word usage, get help from someone who is sure.

Hiring someone to proofread and correct your work is a lot less expensive than losing out on a listing because you chased away your prospect by using the wrong words.

Image courtesy of stuart miles at freedigitalphotos.net

marte@copybymarte.com
www.copybymarte.com

Priest River, Idaho
208-448-1479

 

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Kasey Boles, Managing Broker

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John Boles / 208.830.6185 / johnboles@boiserealtystore.com

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Kasey Boles 208.830.6186 / kaseyboles@boiserealtystore.com

 

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Comment balloon 8 commentsKasey & John Boles • August 15 2018 03:21AM

Comments

Thanks for the reblog Kasey - I appreciate that AND your kind words.

Posted by Marte Cliff, Your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) 3 months ago

Hi Kasey... I think a lot of people who think grammar and spelling don't count don't realize how often they are being judged negatively by people who see those errors. I'll admit that I make those judgements myself.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage | Charlotte, NC) 3 months ago

You are welcome Marte Cliff and it's a great blog post! -Kasey

Posted by Kasey & John Boles, Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties (Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - BoiseMeridianRealEstate.com) 3 months ago

Nina Hollander I personally make those judgements as well (some may even judge us for spelling judgements with an 'e' instead of judgments! lol). -Kasey

Posted by Kasey & John Boles, Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties (Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - BoiseMeridianRealEstate.com) 3 months ago

 

Hi Kasey... it is perfectly correct to spell judgement with an "e" both styles are correct. I use the British version as my 4th grade teacher who taught spelling was a Brit.

 

Judgement Vs. Judgment - Everything After Z by Dictionary.com

https://www.dictionary.com/e/judgement-vs-judgment/
 
Though judgement (with an e) has risen and fallen in popularity in British English, judgment remains the preferred spelling in British legal proceedings and appears more frequently in written work. Today,judgement is an accepted spelling in British English.
Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage | Charlotte, NC) 3 months ago

I know that Nina Hollander. I was making a joke that someone who spells it judgment may be judging us for using the 'e' (as you noticed I used it too) either because they don't know it can be spelled both ways or because they are adamant about the non 'e' spelling (people are very opinionated about their grammar and spelling opinions! I know, because I'm one of them, haha!) -Kasey   

Posted by Kasey & John Boles, Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties (Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - BoiseMeridianRealEstate.com) 3 months ago

Great article. I considered myself a pretty accomplished writer (people told me so and I did a lot of copywriting for a company I worked for). I am about to publish a 160 page Ebook on home preparation before you sell. To be on the safe side, I bought Grammarly to clean up any grammar issues. Sheesh! You can call me Mr Passive Voice.

Even professional authors have editors. Good grammar matters.

Thanks for your post!

Posted by Steve Murphy, Website helping homeowners prepare for sale (ReadyHomeSell.com) 3 months ago

Thanks Steve Murphy! Keep me in mind if you ever need any additional editing or proofreading for future books or marketing and business docs. -Kasey 

Posted by Kasey & John Boles, Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties (Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - BoiseMeridianRealEstate.com) 3 months ago

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