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  • Sarah Higgins-Grove

Can spelling and grammar really affect business?

Updated: Oct 5, 2020

In business, first impressions count … they help people decide whether or not to continue engaging with you. Your writing, whether website content, marketing material, a bid submission or application form, is often the first point of contact you have with your target audience and a major influence on your business credibility.

There's no doubt that poor grammar and spelling, along with typos, suggest a lack of professionalism and care which can sow a seed of doubt in the mind of the reader. After all, if you don't make the effort to get this right, then what faith should anyone have in the quality of your products or services?

With many businesses increasingly reliant on their online presence, the quality of website content is becoming more important than ever. A few years ago, the BBC reported online entrepreneur Charles Duncombe's experience of the impact that spelling mistakes can have. After correcting a single spelling mistake on his website (changing tihgts to tights) he found that sales jumped by 80%!

A study by Global Lingo also illustrated the point when it polled 1,029 adults in the UK on the effects of grammar and spelling mistakes on their buying habits. A massive 59% of respondents indicated that they wouldn't buy from a website that had grammar or spelling mistakes.

Disruptive Communications went on to survey 1,003 consumers in the UK on the factors most likely to damage their view of a brand. The number one response, from 42.5% of respondents, was poor spelling or grammar.

At a time when many people have concerns about internet fraud, the issue of online credibility can be even more fundamental. After all, what would rouse your suspicion that a website or email may be a scam? Many people would say it's the poor spelling or grammar.

So the answer is YES, spelling and grammar mistakes really can affect business and first impressions really do count.

And just to press the point … a poll of 1,700 online daters found that 43% considered poor grammar to be unattractive, while a later poll of 5,500 online daters revealed that 39% judged the suitability of potential dates by their grasp of grammar, ranking it more important than their dress sense or their smile. It's clear that when first impressions count, bad grammar puts people off!

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