Spelling mistakes can harm online credibility

Nothing can hurt your credibility more than constantly making spelling mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes from time to time, but there are certain errors that keep coming up time and time again.

“Lose” and “Loose”: You lose your pants if they’re too loose. I’m amazed at the number of people who make that mistake. I saw a local business organization make the mistake online as I’m writing this column. “What do you have to loose?” they wrote, when they clearly meant “lose.”

“It’s” and “Its”: The dog eats its food because it’s hungry. The possessive “its” has no apostrophe. Tattoo that on your brain with permanent ink.

And speaking of apostrophes, they do not belong on plural words. “Rose’s roses were in full bloom.” Apostrophes are for (most) possessives, not plurals.

“Your” and “You’re”. Your brother is mad because you’re going to the amusement park without him. “Your” is possessive. “You’re” is short for “You are.”

“They’re” and “There” and “Their”. They’re not going there because their bus was late. Learn the difference and practise.

And my biggest pet peeve, the unnecessary capitalization of common nouns. There is no need to put a capital letter on a word for emphasis. “I’m really Mad at Mary because she showed up late Again!” Only “Mary” needs to be capitalized in that sentence because Mary is a proper noun. Stop using caps on common nouns for emphasis.

So why is a rant about spelling making it into a column on social media? Simple. Good spelling equals more credibility. No one ever winces because you spell something correctly, but if you’re trying to sell products or solutions to your followers, your ability to spell correctly can make a huge difference in how seriously they take you. Huge!

I say: If you own or manage a company that employs someone who tweets for you or who manages your Facebook page(s), make sure their spelling is decent-to-excellent. Constant spelling mistakes make you look bad. Yours is the name associated with the atrocious spelling, not theirs.

2 Responses to Spelling mistakes can harm online credibility

  1. Brian, I agree that spelling mistakes online are a danger area, but I’m not sure it’s fair to say “nothing can hurt your credibility more”. I think that cursing, posting racy pictures, or admitting to the world you like Twilight would damage your credibility more.

    Near the end of your post, you refer to “mad” and “again” as common nouns. The former is an adjective and the latter is an adverb.

    Great columns, keep up the good work!

  2. Lawrence: You are entirely correct! *hangs my head in shame* I should have just written, “Stop using caps on words for emphasis.” Thanks for pointing that out!