“Of what does she talk”, I hear you ask?
“Grammar”, I respond. “Grammar, Grammar and more Grammar.”
Now let’s look at this from the perspective of tutoring and educational companies. If those who set themselves up to teach the English Language have problems using it, what does that say regarding the quality of the product? Running a company and communicating with customers, developing marketing materials and writing emails is critical to your success. People will judge you if your words are not proper.
Here are a few tips that can be devastating to your marketing materials if you use them incorrectly:
1. OFF OF. “This was off of the internet.” No people, it was from the internet! (‘off of” may be used correctly if you are an architect or stone mason.)
2. BELOW. “please see the below email.” Please see the following email or please see the email below.
3. TO & TOO and sometimes even TWO. Too means also, use it that way. To does not mean also, do not use it that way!
4. YOUR & YOU’RE. You’re is YOU ARE, whilst your is not!
5. THERE, THEIR & THEY’RE. Over there. Their house. They’re not coming. They’re is THEY ARE, there is a pattern forming, I know there is!
6. The ‘possessive apostrophe’ and its massacre when used with plurals.
This is a tough one as we all know ‘the assistant’s computer’ when talking of one assistant and their computer. If there are two assistants however, the apostrophe will go after the plural denoting there exists more than one assistant: The assistants’ computer.
The error is made most often with the word ‘company’ when referring to an organization. Say, for example, you wish to refer to the bottom line of the company; it is the company’s bottom line not the companies bottom line. Unless of course there is more than one company and then; the companies’ bottom line.
It becomes more complicated with words that already end in ‘s’. Then you have a possessive apostrophe but do NOT repeat the possessive ‘s’. Charles’ house, not Charles’s house, but don’t ask me what to do if two people named Charles own the house!
7. IT’S and ITS. The one that breaks the rules or the exception that proves the rule. ‘Its’ is possessive but has no possessive apostrophe (see the usage in point 6) as that has already been taken by ‘it is’ and there has to be some way to tell them apart!
While you don’t need to be able to understand calculus to hire a calculus tutor to represent your company, the use of the English Language is slightly different. We use it every day and the spoken word allows us many gimmes; the written word does not. It is out there, you can’t take it back and it’s telling people about your attention to detail. We know and you know that you don’t need to be great at grammar to be an entrepreneur, but if you know it is not your strongest suit then have someone check important letters, applications and marketing materials. You might be glad you did!
Now find our deliberate mistakes!
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