Poor grammar is everywhere these days. From chat apps to text messages, there are plenty of communication tools that have encouraged people to type quickly rather than clearly, and this has brought to our lives an abundance of misspellings, sentence fragments, and auto-corrections that aren’t actually correct.
If all these errors are becoming more common, why then should you bother to make sure your emails aren’t guilty of the same mistakes? Here are several reasons:
Do it So You Look Professional
It may seem a little unfair, but appearances matter. Though grammar might not seem all that important in texts between friends, it can be downright devastating in emails to business associates. Correct spelling, structure, and punctuation are a sign of education and, fairly or not, can be interpreted as an indication of professionalism.
If a consumer or prospective client reads your email and finds it riddled with errors, that person will be left with a sour impression. Regardless of how much thought and time you put into your message, an abundance of mistakes will make it look as though you didn’t even try to communicate clearly.
Do it So You’re Understood
The whole point of emailing someone is so the two of you can communicate. No matter who the recipient is, there isn’t much point in reaching out to him or her if all your email does is cause confusion.
There’s an old anecdote about a town being unsure what to do with a prisoner. To clear up the confusion, the townsmen send a letter to the judge who tried him asking “Should we free the prisoner?” The judge responds with a short note which reads “don’t let him hang,” and the town, thinking this must mean the prisoner is innocent, sets him free.
When the judge finds out about this he asks why a guilty man was let go instead of hanged. The answer is simple: his note did not include a comma after the word “don’t;” as it was written, his sentence meant the prisoner should not be hanged. Had the judge written “Don’t, let him hang” instead, it would have meant “don’t let him go” in response to the town’s question of “Should we free the prisoner?”
That one tiny piece of punctuation completely changed the meaning of the judge’s note. Seemingly small touches like that can similarly completely change the meaning of your emails, and cause unnecessary confusion.
Do it So You’re Taken Seriously
This one should be a bit obvious by now. If your email is riddled with bad grammar and spelling errors, it’s going to look unprofessional and may be difficult to understand.
Now think, if you believe someone is unprofessional and can never figure out what he’s trying to say to you, how much time are you really going to waste dealing with him? Probably not much at all.
Well, your emails can have the same effect on people. Messages that make sense and are easy to read will get your foot in the door, but jumbled messes full of errors can get that door shut in your face.
Do it So You Get Results
We’ve focused a lot on the negatives here—how mistakes can make you look bad and errors can make people lose interest in you our your services—but the reverse of it all is true too.
In taking the time to make sure your emails make sense you’re also giving your readers a reason to respect you, a reason to take you seriously, and a chance to understand you. All of this can go a long way in getting them to do what you want, whether that’s as simple as clicking on a link you sent or more complex like finalizing a sale or business deal.