This post originally appeared on Newswire.ca

In previous posts, we’ve looked at little-known grammatical errors. But with constant changes in the way businesses must communicate, the importance of grammar continues to be a hot topic amongst PR professionals. Can we break the rules, and if so, when is it okay to do so? We try to answer this and other important questions when it comes to grammar and communications.

Is grammar really important?

Grammar is the study of words and the way they work together. Grammar is what helps guide our day-to-day writing.

So yes, proper grammar is very important. Correct grammar keeps you from being misunderstood and lets you effectively express your thoughts and ideas – key to all business communications.

When writing on behalf of your organization, it is important to ensure you use correct grammar – it can mean all the difference between readers trusting your expertise or questioning your knowledge of the subject matter. The bottom line is, if you can’t write properly, you can’t relay your subject matter with authority. Brands are often held to a higher standard, as they must balance between tone, messaging, and conciseness that social media expects.

Is grammar still important when writing for social media and blogs?

Brian Clark from Copyblogger says:

“One thing blogging and good copywriting share is a conversational style, and that means it’s fine to fracture the occasional rule of proper grammar in order to communicate effectively. Both bloggers and copywriters routinely end sentences with prepositions, dangle a modifier in a purely technical sense, or make liberal use of the ellipsis when an EM dash is the correct choice—all in order to write in the way people actually speak.

But there are other mistakes that can detract from your credibility. While we all hope what we have to say is more important than some silly grammatical error, the truth is some people will not subscribe or link to your blog if you make dumb mistakes when you write, and buying from you will be out of the question.”

With the demand for content at an all-time high, it’s not unusual to see errors on social media. But if you’re a brand or a prominent figure in public life, it’s also not unusual for someone to call you out on it.

But can’t you break the rules every once in a while?

Speaking your audience’s language may require you to break a few grammar rules. The Internet dictionary has grown substantially to include slang, hashtags and memes, which don’t always meet the requirements of good grammar. Perhaps social media is the exception to the rule. If brands must sacrifice a semi colon to reply to a post, then so be it! As one writer exclaims, we should “applaud and promote good grammar, demand it in our books and articles, but be forgiving of it in our social media.”

Need some help with your writing? Check out these helpful websites:

How important is grammar to your organization? Is it okay to break the rules when it comes to social media? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet us at @CNWGroup.

**This post has been updated. It was originally written in 2011 by Mandi Relyea-Voss** 

  • 2 comments on Blog Post Title
  • Peter Baker 15:9 PDT on Sep 13, 2016A couple of common mistakes…
    “Centred around…” No, it’s “centred on”
    “Try and…” No, it’s “try to”
    “Less things”..” No. It’s “Fewer things”
    “8am in the morning”. No. “8am”

About Melissa Meyer

Melissa Meyer is a community manager for Cision. She has over five years experience in PR, writing and social media management and oversees Cision’s exclusive online customer community, Cision City. You can find her chatting about all thing PR, pop culture and basketball @_MelissaMeyer