Trump doesn't care about spelling but should we? - 9 March 2020

Trump doesn't care about spelling but should we?

Does spelling and grammar matter? The leader of the free world, US President Donald Trump doesn't seem to think so. His communications are littered with mistakes, misspellings and grammatical errors that invariably descend into farce.

Like spelling "unprecedented" wrongly before changing it later and denying it, or constantly spelling then Prime Minister Theresa May's name as "Teresa May", not realising that the second May (that he openly tagged in tweets) was a soft-porn actress. "Covfefe" indeed!

If the leader of a country can operate with such disregard for language and correctness, does it really matter if your employees do the same? After all, communication today is mostly made via email, instant messaging and across social channels. Rarely considered and often executed on the move.

We've all seen online news articles, social media posts and other digital content where the spelling is loose, to say the least. It's pretty routine. 

Yet how you and your employees use language, can have profound effects on your success.


Don't take our word for it. This statement is backed up by a raft of statistics and reports. Spelling and grammar mistakes can affect your credibility and how people view your business.

1. Research from 2011 shows that people leave as soon as they spot a spelling mistake on a website, often believing the site to be fraudulent or, at least, less credible. This can cost your business revenue.

2. It can be very serious. Take the Taylor & Sons case where a single missing letter caused a multi-million-pound court battle and, reportedly, was a significant factor in the collapse of a Cardiff based company.

3. It also matters on a personal level. People looking for love judge people on their grasp of grammar and spelling. In fact, a survey of 5,500 American love-seekers on found 39% of them found it more important than the way a person looked.

While tolerance is much higher for mistakes in less formal parts of the internet such as Facebook when it comes to professional communication, business quality control must be in place.


In short, grammar and spelling mistakes can have three main negative effects on your business:

1. Errors will limit how well your message is understood and interpreted. In a marketing and sales arena, this can result in a loss of business and a negative perception moving forward.

2. They'll make you look less intelligent, credible and reliable. All essential for the best image of your business.

3. They show that you don't really care about how you do business or how your business is presented.


Spell-checking software has changed the game. Quality software such as Grammarly will help to cover your back. So, it's not foolish to think you and your employees would be pretty much covered against mistakes.

However, this software can affect how people write. With this safety net, there's evidence that people are taking less care, relying instead on the software to fix everything. But the software can't fix inherently bad writing.
Software rarely catch nuances like homophones (differently spelt words that sound alike, with different meanings) and can often change the spelling of unusual, new or niche words.

In an interview with the BBC, Anne Trubek, founder of Belt Publishing explained the curse of spell-check in a practical sense: "Spell-check, as most of us know, sometimes corrects spelling to a different word than intended; if the writing is not later proofread, this computer-created error goes unnoticed."

Clearly, it's good practice to encourage your employees to use these tools, but make sure your staff use a grammar savvy colleague as a final check before publishing an important document or communication.


TAKE YOUR TIME:  Take some extra time to get the wording right. Take a break and re-read your text.

PROOFREAD: To reiterate. Ask someone to proofread your work, if possible, during the process or worst case when you've finished.

USE FRESH EYES: When you write your brain often reads back what you think should have been written. Get someone else with a fresh pair of eyes to read over it as well. Not every email but for the more important documents.

DON'T MULTI-TASK: Switch off chat, close social, stop that conversation about the Netflix and concentrate.

FACT-CHECK: If you are using data, double-check facts, names and other important information on Google so you can validate your source material is as accurate as possible.


Just because the current US President send badly spelt messages at 2 am, it doesn't mean it's OK for your business. And, let's face it, it doesn't always make Donald Trump look all that credible. Expressing yourself well can give you and your business the edge.

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