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Why does spelling matter?

Why does spelling matter?

June 28, 2011 by Ceri-Jane Hackling

Spelling. Does it matter? It's a question that provokes very different opinions and can cause serious arguments. Believe me, I know!

Personally, I believe that spelling and grammar do matter and I'm particularly worried about the proliferation of text talk and bad grammar in the modern world.

PR is all about communication, but I am always surprised by the amount of job applications we receive with spelling and grammatical mistakes. Even personal profiles on networking sites such as LinkedIn are filled with errors and yet these are intended to show you at your best.

At Cerub PR, we know that spelling mistakes in press releases mean that we're headed straight for the journalist's “no” pile.

Well, you could argue, “That's PR, it doesn't matter in other jobs, does it?” I would argue that it does matter and here's why.

For one thing, it shows a lack of care and attention: if you can't be bothered to spend the time checking your writing, there's a very good chance you won't be bothered about attention to detail in other areas either. This means that as a potential employee I'm not inclined to hire you and as a potential supplier, I'm not convinced of your ability to do a good job for my company.

Bad grammar and bad spelling make you look unprofessional and, if I'm being honest, childish. The people who can't spell properly tend to be children and if by the age of 20 you still haven't mastered spelling or sentence structure, then maybe it's time to go back to school!

Top tips for good grammar

Check, check and check again. Don't rely only on spell check. It won't pick up on mistakes like “I went to they're party”, or “I bought some flours”. Once you've checked it, give it to someone else and ask them to check it too. Then leave it overnight and check it again. Then send it off.

Write concisely. Go through your text and take out any extraneous words. Anything that doesn't add to your message can be taken out. Clear, concise and easy to read is what you're aiming for.

Don't repeat yourself — make sure that each paragraph says something new. No-one wants to read the same thing over and over again and you'll lose your audience.

Find out more

There are some links to useful guides below.  And if you find any mistakes in this piece...well done! (Just testing!)

Ceri-Jane Hackling is the managing director of Cerub PR.

Read more on writing press releases:

A complete guide to writing an effective press release

How to write a press release

Press release template

Comments

Quite an interesting exercise is to write with words of one syllable. At least it reduces the risk of spelling mistakes!

Quite an interesting exercise is to write with words of one syllable. At least it reduces the risk of spelling mistakes!

Couldn't agree more. What really annoys me at the moment is how many people are beginning to say, "....couldn't of.........", instead of "........couldn't have.....". I know that language evolves but this is just plain wrong!

I agree. Bad spelling really grinds my gears - and not just because i'm in the PR industry. Very good post.

Absolutely spot on, not just for PR but many industries and businesses. It is particularly important these days where staff are responsible for sending emails to third parties which won't get checked for grammar, spelling or punctuation.

We took on an apprentice last year. The number of people who applied making stupid mistakes was high, which was rather depressing. My pet hate was 'i' instead of 'I', which cropped up quite regularly and is symptomatic of texting.

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