An American Linguist, Noam Chomsky, defined Language as a process of free creation; its laws and principles are fixed, but the manner in which the principles of generation are used are free and infinitely varied. Even the interpretation and use of words involves a process of free creation. This means that Language is a fluid, living, and growing organism that can change over time.

Change is the only thing constant in life. Change is one of the inevitable facts in the life of any language. Language itself provides the seeds of change, and social circumstances provide fertile ground for their growth and spread. Because of this, it’s easy to use the wrong word here and there. Often, we will conventionally use a certain word, like “alot”, which is incorrect and not even a word, we will talk more about that later …

When you’re writing scripts for your On Hold Messages, IVR’s, Voicemail Messages or any other audio Marketing, it is important to sound informed and professional at all times. What can using the wrong words do the image of your business On Hold? Well it can cause people to doubt the validity, knowledge and more of your business, brand or product.

We have highlighted a few troublesome words you will want to look out for when scripting anything for your business:

  1. They’re vs. Their vs. There

“They’re” is a contraction for “they are”, while “Their” refers to something owned by a group, and “There” refers to a place. We know that you know the difference among the three but just make sure you triple check that you are using the right one in the right places at the right time.

Here is an example to show how to use them all correctly –
“They’re going to love staying there; I heard their accommodation is the best!”

  1. Your vs. You’re

“Your” is a possessive and “you’re” is a contraction of “you are”. So the difference between these two is owning something versus actually being something

  1. Then vs. Than

“Than” is a conjunction used to mainly make comparisons – like saying one thing is better “than” another. Compared to “Then” which is mainly an adverb used to situate actions in time: “We baked cookies, and “then” we ate them”.

  1. Incomplete Comparisons

A comparative sentence must clearly identify all the items that are being compared. We often see this in advertising –“Our car model is faster, better, stronger” … Faster, better, stronger – than what? Are you comparing it to a horse? A competitor or an older model of yours?

When you’re asserting that something should be compared to something else, make sure you clarify what that something else is; otherwise it’s impossible for your reader/listener to work out what the comparison actually means.

  1. Affect vs. Effect

Most people confuse these when they’re talking about something changing another thing. Use “effect” (the noun) when you’re talking about the change itself. Example: That theater play had a great effect on me.

You would use “affect” (the verb) when you’re talking about the act of changing. Example: That theater play affected me greatly.

  1. Assure vs. Insure vs. Ensure

All of these words have to do with making an outcome sure, which is why they’re so often mixed up but they aren’t interchangeable. Here is how you can use them all correctly;

“To assure” means to promise or say with confidence. Example: “I assure you that he’s good at his job.”

“To ensure” means to make certain. “Ensure you’re free when I conduct a survey next week.”

“To insure” means to protect against risk by regularly paying an insurance company. “I insure my house in case something happens to it”

  1. I.e. vs. E.g.

These abbreviations have similar meanings, but are different.

“E.g.” comes from the latin exempli gratia and should be used when one, or a few, examples out of many are being given.

“I.e.” stands for id est, meaning “that is” and should be used when there is only one specific example.

You can say, “He loved milkshakes that were chocolate-based (e.g. peanut butter cup, rocky road, brownie batter), but he only liked the traditional – i.e. chocolate.”

… And that’s the end of part one!

So for now, those are the first 7 of the 15 Common Grammar Mistakes to look out for to ensure that your Business Marketing is up to date and portraying the image you want it to.

Stay tuned for part 2 … In the meantime, which of the above frequently catch you out? Or do you have any tips that have been missed here?

Smart On Hold Messages dramatically improves your professionalism allowing you to communicate with your callers, instantly creating credibility. Custom Messages On Hold keep your customers informed and reassured that dealing with you is the right decision.

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