Bad spelling risks business

Businesses risk alienating clients by sending letters and emails containing spelling and punctuation errors, a study has found. The research, by English writing solutions company Whitesmoke, found that 60% of business letters and emails are sent with grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes - despite the ready availability of spelling and grammar checkers.

The company's analysis of 5,000 pages of business letters and emails found that the most widespread type of error was ‘missing' words, with 32% of writers failing to use all the words needed for a grammatically correct sentence.

Words most likely to be missed out are verb auxiliaries, such as 'be', 'have', and 'do'; prepositions, such as 'in', 'on', and 'at'; and determiners, such as 'a', 'an', 'the', and 'this'.

Nearly 30% of the mistakes related to punctuation, with 'agreement between sentence elements' coming up next in the list of grammar gaffes at 8% - for example, 'one of the guy turned around'.

Amit Greener, vice president of marketing and sales for Whitesmoke: "As part of raising the writing standards in organisations, every email or memo sent by a staff member should be proofed beforehand. Correct language shows customers and colleagues that you value them."

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