If you didn’t catch the grammatical error in the title of this post (or the many in the photo for that matter), read on…
Unlock the latch and propping open the lid of my secret chest of pet peeves and you’ll see that nothing irks me more than the flagrant misuse of versions of “there”, “their” and “they’re” and “its” and “it’s” and “you’re” and “your”. It kills me to see this again and again in otherwise well thought-out, well-written emails, posts, articles, tweets, status updates, letters and even advertising. In some cases I know this is coming from reasonably educated and intelligent people, but it certainly takes them down a notch in my opinion.
Grasping the rules for the five or ten most basic grammatical rules can really make you look a whole lot smarter. Brian Clark over at Copyblogger has a good primer on the first five, and once you’ve mastered those, there’s another seven that are also decent. He’s also got some other great articles worth checking out.
These errors are especially dismaying when they come from people in the communications business or, well, any business really. We often tell designers that you are only as talented and useful as your ability to effectively communicate your ideas–in writing. I do not want our clients receiving emails from us with these errors that’s for sure!
With the rise of social media and text entry from mobile devices we’re all looking for shortcuts, but getting the difference between “there” and “their” wrong isn’t one of them. When you’re trying to come from a place of thought leadership and opinion, these mistakes can be even more costly than just looking dumb to your English lit friends.
Before you go rummaging through this or our other blog, I can assure you there are indeed errors like this. It’s the cost of not having time to copy edit every single thing. But I’m ranting about individual control over this, not the lack of a copy editor. FYI, when we catch copy errors, they get fixed. With this post I hope to point those of you to the path of salvation, and to think hard and proof twice.