Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Top 10 Grammar Rules

Brockett Creative Group's Top 10 Grammer Rules

You don’t need a Master’s Degree in English to convey your brand message or publish a social media post. It’s true that most online conversations are informal, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t heed the rules of grammar.  Nothing will tarnish your professional image faster than a misspelled word or misplaced quotation mark.

Here are the top 10 grammar mistakes you should avoid:


#10 Fewer vs Less

Simply, if you can count it, use “fewer.” If you can’t, use “less.”
  • Matt has published fewer blog entries this month.
  • Kari has less incentive to finish her tasks until the first cup of coffee.

#9 Improper Apostrophe Use

Use an apostrophe when writing a contraction (Can’t - Cannot; Don’t- Do Not; Wouldn’t- Would Not)  or showing possession (This is Brockett’s Blog).

#8 Complement vs Compliment

Complement- Something that adds to or supplements something

Compliment-Something nice you say to or about someone. Brockett Creative Group has the best clients in the world.

#7 Then or Than?

Here’s an easy way to remember this rule: Use “than” whenever you are comparing, use “then” for everything else.

#6 Who, Which, or That?

"Who" (or "whom") refers to persons. "Which" refers to animals or things, never to persons. "That" can refer to either persons or things.
  • The copywriter who was hungry.
  • The dog which bit the mailman.
  • The car that goes to the car show.

#5 Anyone vs Any one

"Anyone" means "any person," not a specific person. It could refer to multiple people simultaneously. Anyone can read this blog.

As two words, "any one" refers to a single person.
  • Anyone can learn how to use tSpark’s CMS. But a single-user account can only be managed  by any one user at a time.

#4 Affect vs Effect

Affect is a verb.  Effect is a noun.
  • Your ability to communicate correctly will positively affect your business growth.
  • The effect of poor grammar on a business’ reputation is evident.

#3 Their, They’re, There

  • Are you talking about more than one person and something they possess? Their!
  • Are you talking about a place? There is my cup of coffee!
  • Are you saying ‘they are?’ Use the contraction- they’re.

#2 It’s for Its

"Its" is a possessive pronoun that is gender neutral. The word "its" is used to describe something that is connected to an animal or an inanimate object.
“It’s” is a contraction for “it is” or “it has.”
  • It’s my desire to have another cup of coffee.

 BCG tip: If you can’t remember this rule and unsure of which to use; substitute ‘it has’ or ‘it is’ in the sentence.

  • Brockett Creative Group publishes it is blog posts every week.
That doesn’t work, so obviously it’s “its!”

#1 Quotations

As a rule, punctuation should always go inside quotation marks, even inside single quotes.
  • "It's a good idea to read the weekly BCG blog," her boss suggested.
This applies unless there is a question outside of the quoted material.
  • Do you agree with the saying, "The early bird gets the worm"?
Use single quotation marks for quotes within quotes. Note that the period goes inside all quote marks.
  • He said, "Kari said, 'Poor Grammar is bad for first impressions.'" 

If some of these rules are hard to remember, fortunately there are some great websites and online grammar check tools you can refer to in a pinch.

Grammar Girl
Ginger Grammar Check
Spell Check Plus is great as an on the fly spell-check tool, but doesn't seem to work as well for grammar.

For any assistance with copy writing or content development, the Brockett Creative team is here to help. Also, if there are any grammatical errors in this blog, it's because this copywriter is low on coffee.

[email protected]

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