The English language is complicated enough for those who did not learn Latin at school. Spell and grammar checkers are hailed as tools of the digital age which should make our lives easier. However, they are useless at picking up on the errors generated by using Homonyms. These are words which sound the same but are spelt differently. Here are some examples.
How often have you said you will arrange a meeting in mourning (for whom) when naturally you mean the morning? Certainly as one who struggles with mild dyslexia I have made many errors despite emails being be read on screen and paper and spell checked.
As if this is not enough, there are the Homophones, those words which sound and are spelt the same but have different meanings. These are so well illustrated by Lynne Truss’s book ‘ Eats Shoots and Leaves’. Surely a must for anyone who is either a grammar pedant or cares about their email etiquette. One of my favourite Homophones is ‘Rose’. For example:
Are we planting a rose before our partner rose from bed because they drank too much rose coloured wine last night?
There have been several articles recently about the importance of grammar in business and some have suggested that better grammar is linked to how high you climb the corporate greasy pole.
What is clear from Mesmo Consultancy’s studies is that grammatically correct emails help reduce email overload because they convey the right message right first time. Additionally, good email etiquette as in good grammar conveys a professional image and most importantly make it easy for the recipient to know what is being asked of them.
Next time before hitting send, pause, take the slow email approach and re-read before hitting send. Make sure the human touch pervades over the arrogance of the spell checker.
This is an edited extract from my new book Taking Control of Your Inbox due out in late November. Watch this space for more news.