5 Cringeworthy Grammar Mistakes in Your Inbox

By Avalon Cole
Avalon is based in our Chicago office and has a strong passion for running strategic social media campaigns for clients. In her spare time, she enjoys beach days by the lake and trying new restaurants in the city.
 

You’re responding to a prospective customer’s email. You quickly hit send. You then glance at your sent email and realize you typed, “Hope your having a great week.” Your? Eek.

In this digital age where sending 50 emails an hour isn’t uncommon – if anything, it’s commonplace – learn how to catch and correct these five cringeworthy grammar mistakes:

1. Everyday / Every day

A huge grammar pet peeve of mine, every day versus everyday.

Every day is two words, an adjective-noun phrase meaning, “each day.” “I send the social media report every day.” “We have calls with the marketing team every day.”

You’ll rarely use it as one word, everyday, which is an adjective meaning ordinary. “She shouldn’t wear her everyday clothing to meet the new CEO.”

Pro tip: 98% of the time you use the term every day, it will be two words. You will rarely use “everyday” in the adjective form.

2. You’re / Your

Meet Kate. Kate is a grammar enthusiast. Kate is also your prospective customer. Kate is very interested in your product. Kate is so interested, she agreed to set up a call to discuss how your product can help her increase productivity. This is the email you send to Kate to schedule a call – think she’s going to buy?

Hi Kate,

Great to hear your interested in helping your employees become more productive with our to-do list app solution. Are you free for a short call to discuss your needs?  Looking forward to you’re response.

-Tom

Answer: Kate is extremely detail oriented and caught the incorrect forms of “your” and “you’re” in the email. She immediately hit the delete button.

You’re is a conjunction meaning, “you are.” Your indicates possession. (And “ur” is never, ever appropriate.)

3. It’s / Its

This is one of my favorites. It seems like a no-brainer, but trust me, it’s a major grammar blunder that happens all too often when we’re rapidly trying to rapidly respond. It’s a cringeworthy mistake, for sure.

It’s is a conjunction meaning, “it is.” Its indicates possession. … hold the phone. I know, I know, possession is usually indicated with an apostrophe. What can I tell you? The English language is a bit mad.

It’s [conjunction for it is] frustrating when George doesn’t respond to my emails. But his company recently moved its [possessive] employees to a new email server.”

4. Effect / Affect

This one seems to confuse people, but there’s an easy trick in understanding the difference. Effect is a noun, and affect is a verb.

“Your company’s mission statement affected [verb] me greatly. The effect [noun] was profound.”

5. Kickoff / Kick off

When you’re using any “off” term similar to kickoff (sendoff, takeoff, etc.), the rules are as follows:

If it’s used as a noun or adjective: one word

If it’s used as a verb: two words

“I have my kickoff [adjective] call at noon and I’m ready for the kickoff [noun]; we’re going to kick off [verb] the meeting with rainbow bagels.”

Pull out the hypothetical red pen and watch for these five grammar mistakes in your next email – don’t hit send until you do. The tiniest errors can have the biggest impact.

“Ill-fitting grammar is like ill-fitting shoes. You can get used to it for a bit, but then one day your toes fall off and you can’t walk to the bathroom.”

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