If you look closely, you’ll see grammar mistakes everywhere. From Facebook to advertisements, it seems no place is safe from the torturing of the English language. And yes, it happens with press releases too, especially as we see more and more small businesses turning to releases as ways to market online and build links.
But as with all press release errors, these grammar mistakes can kill your credibility. So avoid these top 8 grammar mistakes in your releases.
- Your instead of you’re — This may be my all time most despised grammar mistake. Yes, I fully understand that in a press release you aren’t typically addressing the reader, so “you’re” won’t get used much. However, odds are pretty solid that it could pop up in one of your quotes. That said, for the love of God, please know that if you mean “you are” then you need that apostrophe. Using the wrong form of this word makes you look like a 13 year old text messaging.
- Anxious as excited — If people are looking forward to a product release, you should not say they are anxious for it. This word comes from the word “anxiety,” which has a negative connotation. Unless your news is going to incite fear and anxiety, choose a different word.
- Participles that dangle — It’s common for novice writers to incorrectly use participles and screw up sentence meaning. In case you don’t know what a dangling participle is, here’s an example: While trying to go to the bathroom, I tried to rush the dog out the door. The way that sentence is written, I’m picturing someone with their pants down holding a dog and running for the door. Not the best mental picture, is it? Obviously, we want to say that the dog is going to the bathroom so the guy is trying to get him out the door. So it should be rewritten with the participle connected to the dog: I tried to rush the dog out the door while he was trying to go to the bathroom.
- Mixing up the there’s — There are 3 different forms of this word you need to know how to use correctly. “Their” is possessive: The companies hope to redefine the market with their new product. “There” shows location: Put the clothes over there. And “they’re” means “They are.”
- Literally — This overused exaggeration goes against its very meaning. If something is literally occurring, then it really must be happening. Yet people use it to say things like “my head is literally exploding.” No, it isn’t. That’s impossible. Since press releases are supposed to be the truth and nothing but the truth, there is no room for such gross hyperbole.
- Compliment instead of complement — What’s wrong with this sentence? The new application will perfectly compliment the company’s existing product line. Well, unless the app can talk and flatter people, it isn’t complimenting anything. However, it is “complementing.”
- Confusing it’s and its — I’ll admit, this is a tough one to remember because it doesn’t necessarily follow similar examples. But that’s how English goes, right? Exception after exception. To show possession, omit the apostrophe. Just use it when you mean the contraction of “it is.”
- Loose to mean lose — I thought this one was well known, but I’ve been noticing it all over the place lately. The mix up typically comes when someone is trying to say something like “While last year saw the company losing ground in the sector, they hope to gain ground with the new launch.” Except many people would put “loosing” instead of “losing.” I get the mix up, because a double O should make that sound. But in this case, the change in sound is how you say the S.
What grammar mistakes did I leave off this list that drives you insane? Have you seen any in press releases? Is there one that you seem to make over and over that drives you nuts? Tell me all about it in the replies.
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download your free copy of the Beginner’s Guide to Writing Powerful Press Releases here: http://www.ereleases.com/insider/beginnersguide.html