Grammar Mistakes That Could Cost You the PR Job (as told by Tumblr)

June 4, 2015
 

As a co-op specializing in content creation at Metis, I like to think that I know my way around a solid sentence structure. I understand how to pry new and interesting phrases from an online thesaurus, and I can finagle style rules from the Associated Press Stylebook. My position at Metis isn’t my first time in the content creation rodeo; I also interned as a communication specialist for a political consulting firm, which exposed me to different styles, voices and goals for content creation. This is the single most important thing I’ve learned from my time as a content creator: Make your editor’s job as easy as possible.


There are a few ways to go about this, but one is key: Use proper grammar, spelling and punctuation. The fewer copy edits your piece needs, the more time your editor will have to provide substantive feedback focused on readability and messaging. These edits not only make your content more engaging, but they also help you cultivate your writing prowess. To help reduce your common grammar mistakes, I’ve combed the pages of Tumblr for some graphic representation of grammatical pet peeves.

Check it out:

  1. Apostrophes are often used to signal possession or form contractions. Know when to use a plural possessive to save your editor a headache—or 12.
  2. Use the correct form of a word. They’re, their and there; to, too and two; and affect and effect can be tricky, but knowing when to use each word cuts down a ton of easily corrected mistakes—and provides a much clearer message in the first draft.
  3. Commas are important. Proper placement can make a world of difference.
  4. Know when to use a colon to create clarity. It can be a powerful tool in a writer’s arsenal.
  5. Oxford commas are one of the most widely debated grammar rules on Tumblr. Personally, I am a huge fan of the Oxford comma, but professionally I don’t use it, per AP Stylebook rules. Sometimes readability trumps the need for perfect grammar, in which case, a small break from the norm is most definitely encouraged. Basically, as wrong as it sounds in your head, ignore Tumblr’s advice on this one.

In short, the better you are at grammar, the more time you’ll have to focus on the content of the pieces you produce, which ultimately leads to better results.

 


Proper grammar is an essential skill for PR and marketing professionals. Have you mastered the art of perfect punctuation, spelling and grammar? Good. We’re hiring PR superstars.

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