Spelling & Grammar Count!

Or do they?  Should they?

Increasingly, I’ve noticed poor spelling, grammar, and syntax in the media.  I see it in print and on TV.  While I suspect many don’t think it matters, and many don’t see it (because of their own deficits), it bugs me.  I believe it is symptomatic of the “dumbing down of America.”  Sadly, I’m also seeing it in dental marketing pieces.

You’re JOURNALISTS, for gosh sake!

The stock and trade of the news media is the English language (here in the U.S.).  And, they get it wrong far too often.

I pulled all of these off my own TV, watching at home.

Are the security officers going to dress provocatively and prance about the campus?

Are the security officers going to dress provocatively and prance about the campus?

spelling-and-grammar-2

I wonder where they’re deploying the children? Iraq? Afghanistan?

spelling-and-grammar-3

I’m sure Betty won’t appreciate them talking about her “rolls.”

You’re DOCTORS, for G.V. Black’s sake!

While doctors (of all kinds) have never been known for their linguistic or literary prowess, marketing forces at work today put those skills to the test and in the public eye.  If you’re a dentist today, you’re likely marketing in various media that involves writing, such as:  newspapers, magazines, websites, and maybe even the Yellow Pages (the 1990s called).  Dentists are highly educated and should realize that their writing skills, when viewed by the public, should reflect that education.  I submit that bad grammar and spelling have some deleterious effects on your marketing pieces.

I posted this dentist’s TV ad in a previous post about a year ago.   But, it’s worth posting again.

spelling-and-grammar

Flexible. Affordable. Space between “affordable” and “payment.”

This just in!

I saw this ad this morning in the local paper.  I asked my wife to look at it to see if she noticed anything.  It took only a few seconds.  And, that precipitated today’s blog post.

dental-ad-possessive-vs-plural

It’s not an “accidental typo” when it’s repeated many times. Plural vs possessive!!

My intent isn’t to demean or disparage dentists who are not (and don’t claim to be) gifted writers.  But, I am compelled to suggest that those dentists need to recruit a partner, friend, or relative to proofread their ad copy.  This also goes for websites, which are naturally heavy with copy, creating even more opportunity for mistakes.

Your ads are designed and intended to reflect your unique qualities.  Don’t inadvertently put out marketing that draws the wrong kind of attention.  Get help!  If you insist on doing it yourself, then ask MULTIPLE people (from various backgrounds) to proofread for you.  Otherwise, consider hiring a dental marketing firm that employs its own proofreaders.

And, if you DID hire a “professional” who makes these mistakes, you should demand a refund and then fire them.

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5 Responses to Spelling & Grammar Count!

  1. OC says:

    I blame it on smartphone auto correct, and txt msg which people can type whatever and the recipient can usually guess and ignore the obvious error. I confessed myself included. Since English is my 2nd language, I constantly pull out dictionary to check, especially when typing publicly (such as this). But the careless mistake can be just an attitude thing, regardless of the background.

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      I would hope people aren’t using their silly phones to compose marketing pieces for their practices. 😮

  2. Mark Bourcier DMD says:

    Right on as always, Mike. Public schools no longer really care that much about it, apparently. In our area they are not teaching cursive AT ALL, and their assumption is that all graphic communication in the future will be done with the aid of autocorrect of some kind. So spelling and grammar, and for that matter vocabulary, have been de-emphasized almost to the point of non-existence. One wonders, what DO they spend their time on for 12 years??? They are not masters of literature, classics, art, philosophy, or anything else. It seems it is 12 years of crowd control and self-esteem building, whilst removing any foundation that would justify any real self esteem.

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      All good points, Mark. But, dare I suggest that spelling and grammar aren’t just a technical matter? Being able to compose a proper sentence and expressing oneself effectively is the foundation of CRITICAL THINKING. Computerized spelling and grammar checks won’t make you a better writer. It won’t help you express your thoughts. Being a better writer makes you a better thinker.

      Spell check will just make sure individual words are spelled correctly, even if they are the wrong words… as in my example of the TV reports. The words were spelled correctly, but they were the WRONG WORDS. And, that makes those people look stupid… because, they ARE.

  3. Another brick in the wall says:

    I guess I am not the only one who gets really irritated with spelling, grammar and syntax errors. English is my 2nd language and it took several years of practice to get somewhere with it. English can be difficult and sometimes illogical, but like you say get someone to proof read.

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