Top 10 Grammar Tips for Every Business

We’ve all gone through those boring English classes in school. While some grammar lessons stick with us and others don’t, it’s important for businesses to remember that all it takes is one wrong letter or word to step into a public relations gaffe. Consider the two following statements.

  1. Our business is proud to lend an enormous helping hand to community service efforts.
  2. Our business is proud of the enormity of our community service efforts.

Did you catch the mistake? The word “enormity” in the second sentence is in no way related to the word “enormous” despite the syllabic similarities. Instead, “enormity” refers to “extreme evil.”

In other words, the second sentence reads: Our business is proud of the extreme evil of our community service efforts. Ouch. Innocent mistake? Yes, but it’s still a public relations gaffe nonetheless.

To avoid both internal and external embarrassment with your business, keep these grammar tips in mind:

  1. Continual vs. continuous. “Continual” means always occurring whereas “continuously” means never-ending. You definitely wouldn’t want to mix these up in a business email or contract, or that awful business deal you signed might never end!
  2. I.E. vs. E.G. “I.E” translates into “that is” while “E.G.” means “for example.”
  3. Elicit vs. illicit. “Elicit” means that you’re evoking some sort of response. You want to elicit positive reactions with your advertising. On the other hand, “illicit” means “illegal.”
  4. Alternately vs. alternatively. “Alternately” means that you will take turns – or alternate. “Alternatively” presents one or more options.
  5. Refute vs. rebut. Whether you’re in a business meeting or exchanging emails, you’ll want to keep these two verbs in check! To “refute” something is to disprove it with evidence while to “rebut” is to disagree.
  6. Farther vs. further. “Farther” is used in reference to a physical distance point whereas “further” refers to a greater degree of something. Do you want to move farther or further with your business plans?
  7. Alright vs. all right. “Alright,” we know everyone uses this word, but did you know it’s actually not a legitimate word? Use “all right.”
  8. Uninterested vs. disinterested. To determine whether your business is uninterested or disinterested with a potential deal, remember that “uninterested” means that you have no interest where as “disinterested” means that your party is removed or neutral to a situation.
  9. Who’s vs. whose. “Who’s” is a contraction for “who is.” If it doesn’t make sense to use “who is” in the sentence, then use “whose!”
  10. Than vs. then. In business, we love to be competitive. When comparing your business to your competitors, use “than.” In all other instances, use “then.”

If you follow these 10 Grammar Commandments for businesses, you’ll find that your communications and public relations efforts flow more smoothly!


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