Monday, 1 April 2013

Spelling and grammar

My first editor, when I started as a reporter, told me sternly: "The three most important things in journalism are accuracy....accuracy and accuracy." He was really referring to facts but he also drove home the lesson that accuracy is vital in spelling and grammar too.

Why? Well, because it affects (not effects, please note) the way people view you. Look at the photograph above. Would you deal with this company? Would you trust it?

The eminent Stephen Fry thinks we should not become too stressed by language "errors". He explains his position in a rather long but illuminating and enjoyable video.

So do you get annoyed when you see spelling, grammar or punctuation errors? Perhaps you take the view that as long as the "sense" is conveyed everything is fine.
Do you tut or send comments, if online, to the relevant website? Of course, being over 50 I am bound to be a protagonist for the "standards are slipping" brigade. I am sorry but they are. Paragons of journalistic virtue like the BBC (see below) and The Times are often found wanting nowadays.

It is probably a subject for another day but it may surprise you to know that when I briefly taught communications skills to undergraduates at a North West university I was instructed: "Don't mark them down for bad spelling".
It always amazes me that people in communications, especially PR, are not more fastidious about their (not there, please note) writing. I accept that people are under more pressure nowadays.
However, your brand, personal or corporate, is only as good as its (not it's please note) weakest link. Does any of this matter? Is Fry correct? If you have time I would appreciate your view. Meanwhile, if you find an error in this post I apologise.

From a PR release

Top school sign

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