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This 74 message thread spans 3 pages: 74 ( [1] 2 3 > >     
Is anyone else bothered by the lack of grammar on websites?
Many nice looking sites have text that would make a third grader wince.

 3:49 pm on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

I was considering signing on with a highly recommended webhosting service for a reseller account but the content on their site was so full of run on sentences, phrases that were meant to be sentences but were not, incorrect verbs and various other jumbles of jibberish that I couldn't bring myself to deal with them. What was the most horrifying aspect of this for me was that there were several testimonials prominently displayed on the home page from satisfied customers and oddly enough these all had exactly the same types of continuous grammatical errors. I think this was <snip>. I see this all over the internet. I find it puzzling that someone would go to the trouble and expense of having a beautiful site made and fill it with such horrible text that even a third grade student would be shocked. Does anyone else find this disturbing?

[edited by: engine at 7:24 pm (utc) on Jan. 11, 2004]
[edit reason] no specifics [/edit]



 4:58 pm on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

... elements of style bother me less than mispellings. <snicker>grammAr</snicker> :)


 4:59 pm on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Not really, but the lack of *grammar* really annoys me! :)


 5:33 pm on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

One or two errors doesn't bother me much, but I have often looked elsewhere after seeing a pattern of poor grammar, especially for technical services or products such as hosting or software.

When detail orientation matters, it gives me great pause to see that kind of thing. At the very least, I wonder about customer service, should I need it -- and that holds true even for buying plain old consumer goods.


 6:04 pm on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)
I am the first to admit I have bad typing and spelling. But I do know how to make a sentence.

 6:13 pm on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

It's funny how some hold others to higher standards than themselves.


 6:16 pm on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Sorry Lizzie, but I could not resist.

I am the first to admit I have bad typing and spelling. But I do know how to make a sentence.

Should be:

I am the first to admit I have bad typing and spelling, but I do know how to make a sentence.


 6:17 pm on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

I wasn't being nasty lizzie - the irony was just too tempting! :)

You do have a valid point here. Trust is one of the most important issues when buying stuff on the Internet. Why should I trust a company to deliver my order correctly when they can't be bothered to proofread their website?


 6:17 pm on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)
It's funny how some have no standards at all for their own behaivior towards others. To spend a Sunday coming on a chat room where people come to get information and slam and put down someone you would be to intimidated to open your mouth to in person means you need to find some way to improve your self-esteem.

 6:19 pm on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Bad grammar (and spelling) are bad business. Last night I got a "phishing" e-mail that alleged to be from Citibank. It was so packed with spelling and grammar errors that even folks gullible enough to believe that Citibank really needed their personal info and PIN number couldn't possibly be fooled.

One of the great things about the web is that a small business can look "big" with a great web site - grammar and spelling errors, though, can make the best-designed sites look like minor league efforts. Obvious errors really destroy the credibility of the site.

One reason we see more sloppy grammar on the web, I think, is that it's so easy for the writer to publish his own work. In the same way that desktop publishing enabled legions of bad designers to turn out ugly flyers, web publishing enables lots of people to display their content without the benefit of proofreading or knowledgeable input.

I fixed the "grammer" in the title.


 6:25 pm on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

I don't think grammar is the #1 issue when choosing a host. I'm committed to hosts that can't pick up the phone or answer email. I could tell you about Web hosts that know how to spell, but can't keep their servers up or configure a stats program. I would search around on newsgroups and the Web to see what's being said about established companies.


 6:28 pm on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Sorry Lizzie, but I could not resist.
I am the first to admit I have bad typing and spelling. But I do know how to make a sentence.

Should be:

I am the first to admit I have bad typing and spelling, but I do know how to make a sentence.

The first is not wrong, the second is better.

I would not expect standards of spelling and grammer on a message board such as this to be held to the same standard as that for final copy uploaded to a web site or sent to a printer.

Mistakes do get made. They even get into print at some of the better print publishers. But they should be rare.

I wouldn't be as concerned about typos, spelling, and grammer mistakes in e-mail and discussion forums, however.


 6:50 pm on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Sorry Lizzie, but I could not resist.
I am the first to admit I have bad typing and spelling. But I do know how to make a sentence.

Should be:
I am the first to admit I have bad typing and spelling, but I do know how to make a sentence.

The first is not wrong, the second is better.

There is nothing 'wrong', 'right' or better in starting a sentence - or not starting a sentence - with 'But'. It depends on the emphasis intended. Use of language is a mix of convention, acceptability and clarity - there are no god-given rules. Usage changes continuously.

I've had books published by major publishers, with every word being professionally copy-edited and proof-read. When I wanted a sentence to start with 'But', the sentence was duly passed and printed as 'But ...'

Shock, horror, in modern usage it is even acceptable to start a sentence with 'And' in the right circumstances.

But 'grammer' would never have have been accepted.


 7:04 pm on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

You're right. There is nothing wrong with starting a sentence with but. And since Dreamweaver has spell check my websites do not have spelling errors. My comment was about the total lack of any attempt at correct grammAr I see all over the web. <snip>

[edited by: engine at 7:28 pm (utc) on Jan. 11, 2004]
[edit reason] specifics removed, see TOS [webmasterworld.com] [/edit]


 7:56 pm on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Let's not get overly picky here... Lizzie has raised a legitimate issue: sites with poor grammar. Do you encounter these, and does it influence your opinion of the site? Could it affect a purchase decision?

While I agree that I'd prefer my web host to be a better Linux admin than grammarian, I think that grammar/spelling errors in published materials suggest a lack of professionalism. If the company is of reasonable size, I'd expect them to have both top-notch technical people as well as sharp front office people. The fact that the content is on the web and nobody in the company has corrected it suggests to me that the organization is thin or people don't care. (This might not be accurate, but that's my first take.)

Then again, I tend to notice stuff like that, and may not be typical.


 8:09 pm on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Then again, I tend to notice stuff like that, and may not be typical.

On the contrary, I think that most people prefer sites without typos, clumsy expressions and poor attempts at communication.


 8:12 pm on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Just remember these 25 basic rules and you will be fine :)

1. Don't abbrev.
2. Check to see if you any words out.
3. Be carefully to use adjectives and adverbs correct.
4. About sentence fragments.
5. When dangling, don't use participles.
6. Don't use no double negatives.
7. Each pronoun agrees with their antecedent.
8. Just between you and I, case is important.
9. Join clauses good, like a conjunction should.
10. Don't use commas, that aren't necessary.
11. Its important to use apostrophe's right.
12. It's better not to unnecessarily split an infinitive.
13. Never leave a transitive verb just lay there without an object.
14. Only Proper Nouns should be capitalized. also a sentence should.
15. begin with a capital and end with a period
16. Use hyphens in compound-words, not just in any two-word phrase.
17. In letters compositions reports and things like that we use commas
18. to keep a string of items apart.
19. Watch out for irregular verbs which have creeped into our language.
20. Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
21. Avoid unnecessary redundancy.
22. A writer mustn't shift your point of view.
23. Don't write a run-on sentence you've got to punctuate it.
24. A preposition isn't a good thing to end a sentence with.
25. Avoid cliches like the plague.


 8:41 pm on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

I don't buy products from illiterate commerce sites.

Language on my site is somewhat redundant to improve search engine position. "we sell widgets. If you need a widget, phone us for all your widgeting needs."


 9:05 pm on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm willing to cut the webmasters a lot of slack if I think English isn't their first language. Not if I'm buying something, though. If you can't spell post office, how can I be sure you'll get my package to one? ;)


 9:19 pm on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

since Dreamweaver has spell check my websites do not have spelling errors.

Sadly I think the main caws of many spelling miss steaks online is over-reliance on spell chequers.

People believe they eliminate the need for careful proof reading and the result is text littered with words that are certainly correctly spelled but are the wrong word.

I recently came across an article online where the word 'which' was consistently replaced by 'witch', among numerous other errors - all spelled correctly. Aside from making the article read like nonsense it seriously undermined its credibility.


 9:34 pm on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

I like the sites that look great and are full of errors. Anyone can pay fifty dollars for a template and fill it with nonsense.


 11:38 pm on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

A spell checker will not replace good proof reading, but it does help. When using web based forums, often I type comments into MS Word, correct the errors it catches, try to find other errors and correct them. Then I cut and paste into the form.

The grammar checker in Word usually only catches typos (period rather than comma, etc.), but other wise it does not do a very good job on grammar. It does do well on grammer, however.


 3:21 am on Jan 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

one main point, stated in various ways here, is that we read aloud in our heads (<< awful, i know). it reminds me of the Michael Peterson case where the lab tech read out a list of articles the lab received for processing. after she said:

uh TAH chee kase (for 'attache case')

i could listen no more. grammar, spelling, overall flow of content is very important for professional sites. i read pages as if they were being read aloud by an announcer. if they do not make sense i will not spend much time or effort getting to the meat of the content, if there exists any at all.


 3:50 am on Jan 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

I agree divaone. Content that is full of grammatical and spelling errors (including not knowing how to properly capitalize in a sentence ;-)) tells me that the writer is lazy. A few mistakes are fine, but not a pattern of error.


 7:39 am on Jan 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

The most important thing on the web is the copy. Why else would your visitors be on your site?

For sites that sell stuff, copy is what will lead to a sale. Product images are also important, the code, the design etc, but it is the copy that sells.

The majority of web sites has poor copy; bad spelling, bad grammar, clumsy sentences, irrelevant information etc.

Content, Writing and Copyright is one of the least active forums on WebMasterWorld, a site that has News and Discussion for the Independent Web Professional written on the front page. Doesn't that worry you?


 1:14 pm on Jan 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

Ivana, I think most people think of writing copy as something like driving a car - anyone can do it, what's the big deal? With the SEO-orientation of many members, for them effective copy means copy that achieves a top ranking in Google.

Certainly, there are plenty of members here who look at conversion rates and realize that copy is a key element in boosting those rates. Nevertheless, I think that many webmasters who think of site copy as "shovelware" to fill up pages, create search engine traffic, and provide a platform for context-driven ads.

I think the future will reward some sites with superior copy, just as some mail order firms are successful largely because of their copy. Other sites will have business models that aren't as reliant on good copy; the mail order analogy might be camera resellers, who devote no time to copy and but put lots of effort into pricing and products.

Getting back to the topic of this thread, lack of attention to grammar is a symptom of lack of emphasis on copy, along with spelling errors, lackluster prose, etc.


 1:18 pm on Jan 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'd never buy anything from a site that contained a large number of spelling/grammatical errors.

It reflects to me the regard that you have for your products/service.



 2:11 pm on Jan 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

Sites will lose potential customers if the copy isn't good enough. I'm not taking about losing (the few) customers like myself who have a pedantic approach to grammar and spelling errors and will get personally offended by poor copy.

I'm talking about losing customers because the copy doesn't make sense (abbeyvets 'which/witch'-example being a favorite) and confuses the customer so much that they leave and end up buying the product somewhere else. It's similar to putting the 'BUY'-link in places no one would look for it: It stops the customer buying.

Web site copy should not have any misspellings and have correct grammar, not because that's what we were taught in school, but because it is the medium we use to tell our potential clients why and how to BUY.


 4:04 pm on Jan 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

LOL @ Georgeek's list. :)


 4:25 pm on Jan 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

A page with one or two errors doesn't bother me, but a page with a lot of errors, especially dumb ones, makes me think the company or designer just doesn't care enough to bother proofing. And, if they don't care about their own site, why on earth would I think they'd care about my order?

This 74 message thread spans 3 pages: 74 ( [1] 2 3 > >
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