The Most Common Grammatical Errors (According to PR Pros)


In honor of National Grammar Day on Monday, PR News took an informal poll to get a read on some of the most glaring grammatical efforts in written communications, according to public relations pros.

Among the nearly 40 responses, there were a handful of chronic mistakes that PR execs were able to point out.

According to the poll, one of the most blatant grammatical errors is confusing “they’re” (the contracted form of “They are”) with “their (the possessive pronoun). Using “their” when referring to one company (its) also met with derision. 

Another common grammatical error that was repeated by several respondents: Confusing ”You’re,” a contraction of “you are,” with “Your,” a possessive adjective

There were a few other grammatical bugaboos, such as mistaking “affect,” or “to influence," for “effect,” which refers to “a result.”

For PR pros, it’s important to be vigilant when it comes to writing well.

Now in its umpteenth edition, “The Elements of Style,” written by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White, is indispensable for public relations execs.

You may have a killer pitch and a story that sings, but if your press release/email/invitation suffers from poor grammar it may be all for naught.

Here’s the full list. Care to chime in?

In honor of National Grammar Day, what do you think is the most common grammatical error?

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Follow Matthew Schwartz: @mpsjourno1 

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About Matthew Schwartz

Group Editor, PR News: Matthew Schwartz is group editor of PR News, the leading source of trends, how-to content and best practices for PR professionals. Matthew leads the editorial strategy for PR News’ premium content products—including its weekly newsletter—and for its digital presence. Matthew was editor of PR News from 2003-2005. Prior to returning to PR News, Matthew was a reporter for Crain’s BtoB and Media Business magazines, where he covered business marketers and media companies. He was also editor of BMA Buzz, a biweekly email newsletter covering B2B marketing, advertising and social media, and contributing writer to Advertising Age Custom. Matthew has helped to launch blogs on behalf of ZoomInfo and direct marketing agency The Kern Organization. He also spent a few years in cable-news precincts, working as a writer/producer at CNN and Fox News Channel.

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  • Nancy Hayes

    The misspelling of recieve — ack! like chewing on tin foil