Brian Patten‘s poem ‘Gust Becos I Cud Not Spel’ is about a child who becomes a dictator, rounds up everyone who teased him about his spelling and has them shot. (It’s more amusing than it sounds.)
While bad spelling won’t get you shot, it will reflect badly on your business. The very least it will do is make you look unprofessional and annoy customers; but it could sabotage deals.
There’s a story I heard about a contract being drawn up between two companies, one of which had ‘Foods’ in its name. Apparently someone had used Spellchecker on the contract and, unbeknownst to anyone, had accidentally replaced ‘Foods’ with ‘Fools’.
This was only noticed after the contract had been signed; presumably it had to be scrapped and negotiations hastily arranged to correct the error. I’d hate to think what happened to the ‘spell checker’. Presumably he ended up doing his own spell on the dole queue.
To avoid the firing squad, pay attention to these simple tips.
1. Don’t rely on your computer’s Spellchecker.
The Spellchecker is there to help you once you’ve proofread a document and corrected it yourself. Once you’ve used the ‘checker, re-read the document and correct it yourself again. See the pattern?
2. Never use an apostrophe to mean ‘more than one’
DVDs, CDs, Special Offers, Star Buys; none of them need an apostrophe.
If you are running a sporting goods shop and have a sign saying ‘football’s for sale’, you’re not saying you have more than one football for sale. Instead, you’re making a political statement about how ‘football is for sale’.
3. Learn the difference between your and you’re
Your means ‘belongs to you’.
This is your chance to win this singing competition
You’re means ‘You are’.
I made a mistake; you’re an awful singer.
The latter example is a contraction – a shortened version. In Star Trek, the android Data never used contractions. He would always say ‘You are’. In one episode, a fake Data was spotted because he said ‘you’re’.
Words that sound the same but have different meanings are called homophones. (Homo here means ‘the same’.)
4. IT’s came from outer space
It’s is a contraction of ‘it is’ or ‘it has’.
It’s been a very good year
Its is about having or belonging
Every pet has its own character
Keep these tips in mind – pay attention to detail when you communicate with customers and they will pay attention to you.