When I ran a user survey at the end of last year, one of the top topics subscribers voiced their opinions on most was proper writing skills. Many were frustrated with those who emailed them with typos, incomplete sentences, and incorrect grammar. A bunch making comments similar to “Didn’t they learn this stuff in school?”
We are not born with these skills or education. Writing skills are acquired as we go through grade school for the basics, high school for more instruction, and those who go on to college for additional practice and skill-building. Then, we have to keep using them and honing those skills. Writing skills do not happen by osmosis.
We learn then forget?
So we learn all these guidelines and the proper way to write — but what happened? Technology happened. SMS, texting, quick chats, and now many communicate in blurbs, not complete sentences. Emojis have taken the place of punctuation. And if we aren’t writing full thoughts, why capitalize. No need to spellcheck — “they know what I mean.” We became lazy.
Email is simply communicating with the written word, right? How can you communicate if your comments are misspelled or not used with proper case, tense, or punctuation? Many a misunderstanding is unnecessarily created because of this lack of effort.
Grammar is not just for business or professional authors. It is essential to you being understood and taken seriously. Providing a positive impression in all your communications can help you excel in so many ways by offering an educated, more importantly for business, a credible and professional perception.
But I’m not an author or “writer”.
Well, yeah, you are. If you are writing an email, you are the author.
But I’m not communicating with businesses, just family and friends!
Take my word for it — family and friends will appreciate clarity in their email communications with you. Why would you want to communicate as though you have no education? If you think about it, you’ll probably admit you are just being lazy. That’s not a good look either.
Perceptions Really Do Matter
Communicating properly is what educated adults do. As someone who writes more than most, I’m constantly improving my writing skills. I am still learning grammar and good writing by having four sites (and being corrected when I run astray).
One of the tools I have used that can help you hone your writing and grammar skills is Grammarly.
Whether you use Grammarly, learn on your own, or purchase some books to have on hand to refer to when needed — make an effort to continually improve. One book I can recommend is The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation: An Easy-to-Use Guide with Clear Rules, Real-World Examples, and Reproducible Quizzes
What do you think about those who email you with typos, incomplete sentence structure, and poor grammar? On a scale of 1 – 10, with 10 being a lot — how much does it matter to you?