Weve all gone through those boring English classes in school. While some grammar lessons stick with us and others dont, its 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.
- Our business is proud to lend an enormous helping hand to community service efforts.
- 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 its still a public relations gaffe nonetheless.
To avoid both internal and external embarrassment with your business, keep these grammar tips in mind:
- Continual vs. continuous. Continual means always occurring whereas continuously means never-ending. You definitely wouldnt want to mix these up in a business email or contract, or that awful business deal you signed might never end!
- I.E. vs. E.G. I.E translates into that is while E.G. means for example.
- Elicit vs. illicit. Elicit means that youre evoking some sort of response. You want to elicit positive reactions with your advertising. On the other hand, illicit means illegal.
- Alternately vs. alternatively. Alternately means that you will take turns or alternate. Alternatively presents one or more options.
- Refute vs. rebut. Whether youre in a business meeting or exchanging emails, youll want to keep these two verbs in check! To refute something is to disprove it with evidence while to rebut is to disagree.
- 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?
- Alright vs. all right. Alright, we know everyone uses this word, but did you know its actually not a legitimate word? Use all right.
- 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.
- Whos vs. whose. Whos is a contraction for who is. If it doesnt make sense to use who is in the sentence, then use whose!
- 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, youll find that your communications and public relations efforts flow more smoothly!