Spelling and Grammar in Professional Communications


You spend months waiting for that important email, and finally the day arrives! Opening your inbox, you see your new business partner’s name at the top of the list. But the subject line gives you pause: “Your invited!” Well, accidents happen, you think as you open the message – but it only goes downhill from there…

In a world ruled by social media, where something that occurred an hour ago is no longer considered “news,” conveying the message itself has taken priority over how that message is conveyed. In fact, many business owners forget that correct spelling and grammar are integral to professional communications. They help avoid confusion, loss of credibility, and a host of other problems.

A few advantages of grammatically correct writing include:

  • A good first impression of your business creates a solid foundation for the future at the outset. Proper grammar not only demonstrates impeccable attention to detail but also provides your audience with confidence in your skills.
  • Appropriate use of spelling, grammar, and punctuation results in more effective communication. It is crucial to convey your message in the clearest way possible, without hindering your audience’s ease of reading or comprehension.
  • According to LinkedIn, grammatically sound marketing messages help maintain an organization’s competitive edge. Research also shows that consumers are much less likely to make a purchase on a website with glaring spelling and grammar errors.
  • A recent study by Grammarly found that professionals who fail to progress to director-level positions in the first 10 years of their career make more than double the number of grammar errors.
  • The study also revealed that professionals who earn six to nine promotions in a 10-year period make 45% fewer grammar errors than their less frequently promoted colleagues.
  • Proper spelling is essential not only for the message you are attempting to convey, but also for the medium in which it is delivered. Spelling a professional contact’s name and email address correctly indicates that you respect them and their time.
  • Eloquent use of language establishes a business owner as an expert in their field. A perfect structure and smooth flow of your message indicates that you are speaking from experience, whereas awkward sentences imply lack of industry knowledge – regardless of whether or not this impression is a reflection of the truth.
  • Clear, error-free language also helps establish trust in both internal and external communications. Be it your clients, partners or even your own employees, anyone to whom you convey written messages must be able to rely on complete transparency from you as a business owner.

If you need proof that bad grammar can cost your business, one company learned about it the hard way. You may be familiar with the age-old debate on the Oxford comma. While in some cases it may not be necessary, in others its absence can completely change the meaning of a sentence. (For example, “I would like to thank my parents, Ayn Rand and God” vs. “I would like to thank my parents, Ayn Rand, and God.”) That distinction could cost a Maine dairy company $10 million in lawsuits due to unclear wording in a state law.

The next time you doubt the impact of spelling and grammar on professional communications, remember the examples above. Is an extra minute to proofread an email or a Facebook post worth it to avoid all the problems that could follow? It is, indeed.


Diana Spektor | DBPC Blog