In a world where e-mails and Web sites are often the first contact customers have with a company, the written word is becoming more and more important. To make a good first impression, a company must be sure that its Web site not only works right but reads right as well.
The same is true for trainers: If your documentation or training materials have grammatical or spelling mistakes, it reflects poorly on your skills. These documents are meant to be reference materials, so you don’t want your spelling or grammar mistakes to be preserved for all time.
While resources for producing Web pages and documentation vary, one place where everyone should be on equal footing is spelling and grammar. It doesn’t take a set of specialized skills to know how to spell (or to use a dictionary), and it doesn’t cost any extra to have a “word person” check your work before it is posted. There is always spell check, but it is not infallible. It doesn’t always have the right suggestion for fixing errors in writing. And, judging by the number of mistakes that get through the production process, it’s not used religiously.
- If your pants are too big, are they lose or loose?
- Do you know the difference between the Latin abbreviations i.e. and e.g.?
- Is there an apostrophe missing in this sentence: “The Smiths live in the green house”?
A download to make your writing better
In surfing the Web with an editor’s eye, I’ve noticed that people tend to make the same types of mistakes over and over. A common error is word confusion, such as using sight when it should be site. Other grammar abuses include the misuse of contractions, possessive pronouns, and apostrophes. And then there is always the problem of misspellings.
With these errors in mind, we’ve created a download to help you fine-tune your written documents. From e-mail to training manuals, you’ll no longer have an excuse when you’ve added a faulty it’s instead of an its, an incorrect affect instead of an effect, or a not-quite-right congradulations. Getting these words right will increase your professionalism and your credibility—something no trainer can afford to ignore.
So now’s the time for a quick refresher course in tricky grammar. Download our list of common grammar mistakes now, and leave the syntax errors to your competition.
And if the rules seem arbitrary or nonsensical, remember this advice from Paul Brians, an English professor at Washington State University, Pullman, WA:
“Hey, nobody ever said English was logical: Just memorize it and get on with your life.”
Are there certain words that you never know how to use or spell? What mistakes do you see all the time on the Web? Send us a note with your questions and comments, and we’ll use it to update and revise our spelling download.