That's my reaction to the above image. Do you see it? Can you understand why I look at this and want to pull out my hair? Yes, a grammatical error. On a professional website. In a big bold heading at the top of the page. The first thing somebody sees when they visit this site.
I hope you saw it too—"industries" instead of "industry's". One is plural and one is possessive. Two completely different meanings. I look at this and say, why didn't somebody catch this? It reflects poorly on both the company and the web designer, and a glaring grammatical error like this is the easiest way to undermine your professionalism, intelligence, or attention to detail. Remember, first impressions—whether accurate or not—are important.
So, okay, I'm a stickler for proper grammar. I can't help it. It's in my blood. I admit I'm not perfect, and I don't go around looking for these things; they just reach out and grab me. Grammar rules exist for a reason, and that's to have a set standard for communication. COMMUNICATION IS IMPORTANT! If those grammar rules start to fall apart, then guess what... communication falls apart. And then, of course, ultimate chaos ensues. (Or, at the very least, there's misinterpretation and confusion.)
It seems to me that this problem is becoming more rampant. Some speculate it started with instant messaging and text messages—the need for shorthand and made-up words led to relaxed standards in written communication. I dunno.* Maybe. But I do seem to come across more and more grammatical errors in casual written communication (like emails and Facebook statuses) and yes, even in this case, professional websites.
A common example I see at least once a week is emails without a single iota of punctuation. Jumbled thoughts rattled off in run on sentences are not cool, man. So something like this: "Nyla I need to have my password reset I can't remember it and also Susie needs it too" may generate a response like this from me: "Did you mean you want me to reset your password and send it to both you and Susie, or that each of you needs me to reset both of your passwords?" And then I have to wait for their response again before I can handle their request. Do you see the inefficiency poor grammar causes?
Now indulge me for a second as I point out some very common grammatical errors that are pet peeves of mine:
their vs they're vs there
Correct usage: "Please tell the family their luggage bags are over there in the corner. They're being processed for shipping."
loose vs lose
Correct usage: "I've got some loose change in my pocket. I hope I don't lose it all through the hole in my jeans."
its vs it's
Correct usage: "It's a shame that plant didn't grow. Its root system must not have spread."
should've vs should of (or would of or could of)
Correct usage: "I should've watered my garden today before it got too hot outside."
There is no correct usage of "should of".
everyday vs every day
Correct usage: "It is an everyday habit of mine to drink tea. My mother also drinks tea every day."
misuse of apostrophes for plural vs possessive
Correct usage: "We are providers of the church industry's best software solutions. Other industries that may benefit from our solutions are charities and small nonprofit organizations."
definitely vs definately
Correct usage: "I really hate when I see definitely misspelled as 'definately'."
There is no correct usage of "definately".
congratulations vs congradulations
Correct usage: "Congratulations on your job promotion, marriage, and new house!"
There is no correct usage of "congradulations" or "congrads".
(By the way, don't get me started on the Oxford [serial] comma [used in that last example]. I use it consistently, and wholeheartedly support it. But that's another topic for another day.)
I know that new words are added to the dictionary each year. We have words in existence that our grandparents never even heard of. Sure that's cool, I guess. Language evolves, right? Well here's the thing with evolution— it's based on the idea of new, more developed, more advanced things being created over time. In actuality, what most people think of as evolution is really the result of a LOSS of information. Natural selection occurs because the long haired dog has LOST the information for the short hair gene, so now you have a whole breed of long haired dogs. Genetic mutations cause variation, but mutations are actually mistakes.** So our language is evolving, but it's because of a loss of the correct rules of grammar, or continued and widespread misuse of a word. I'm fine with things changing, but not when that change is the result of a loss of intelligence.
So, forgive me if I'm hard on you (collectively, not individually—I hardly ever point out errors to individuals because that's the sort of thing that can easily come off as insulting, and because I know sometimes it may be just a simple oversight. I'll correct it only when it reflects publicly on your professional image, like when I'm working on your printed materials, marketing promotions, or website). But this really rubs me the wrong way. Let's get back to basics here, folks. Let's make an effort to communicate better.
If you're interested, Grammar Girl is great for a Quick & Dirty Tip every day. (Or, put another way, Grammar Girl is great for an everyday Quick & Dirty Tip. Yeah, you see what I did there?) I'm a fan of the podcast.
So, any other grammar police out there who loved diagramming sentences in grade school? What rubs you the wrong way? Do you get offended when people point out your mistakes?
*Yes, I am aware that 'dunno' is not grammatically correct. But it's purposeful here...seemed apropos, y'know?
**Need more clarity on "evolution"? Answers in Genesis is a great place for you to spend some time.