It may seem insignificant to some, but the correct use of grammar in both speech and writing is extremely important. The way in which a person communicates reflects a lot about them as an individual. Like it or not, we are all judged, personally and professionally, based on the way in which we speak and write.
Proper use of grammar imparts authority and demonstrates respect. Conversely, poor grammar conveys sloppiness, takes away from the credibility of the speaker, and lessens perceived intelligence. Consequently, it is not surprising that companies want to hire people who are able to convey ideas clearly, and thereby positively represent the organization.
In honor of National Grammar Day, below are three common grammar errors, along with examples of their grammatically correct counterparts.
1. It's versus its
The first is a contraction (i.e. shortened form) of "it is." The second is a possessive, conveying ownership.
Example: It's not uncommon for my cat to be frightened of its own shadow.
“There” refers to a place. “Their” is a possessive adjective. “They’re” is a contraction of “they are.”
Example: They're angry that the waitress delivered their food there instead of here.
3. Then versus than
Then is temporal. It should be used when discussing time. Than is comparative. It should be used when making comparisons.
Example: I woke up, then I went for a run. Today's run was faster than yesterday's run.
In today's world where increasingly informal writing tendencies are becoming more common, it's easy to convey the wrong meaning, or even unintentionally offend someone, simply due to grammatical mistakes. A brief review of your email for typos and misspellings doesn't take much time and can prevent potential miscommunications as well as set you apart in a professional setting.