Loyalty Leader Quick Tips

Misspelled Words Will Embarrass You and Annoy Customers

December 13, 2019

< All Articles

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Several years ago, an artist was commissioned to create a colorful mosaic to grace the entrance of a new library in Livermore, California. Unfortunately, the artist did not take the time to check to see if her spelling was correct. It was more than embarrassing for the library director and staff when visitors began noticing that 11 of the 175 names and words on the piece were misspelled–from “Eistein” and “Shakespere” to “Van Gough” and “Michaelangelo.” The correct spelling of these names is Einstein, Shakespeare, Van Gogh, and Michelangelo.

The $40,000 project ended up costing the city an additional $6,000 because it paid the artist to fly from her Miami home to correct the mistakes.

Adding to the problem was the unwillingness of the artist to take responsibility for the errors. Amazingly, the city officials allowed her to get away with her claim, “There were plenty of people around during the installation who could and should have seen the missing and misplaced letters.”

The Livermore Library is an extreme example of the damage that can be caused by misspelled words. They had to invest additional funds to clean up the public relations mess on their hands.

Spelling errors can cause serious problems in the workplace. Email is a common vehicle for communicating quickly but it can create credibility issues and erode trust. Poorly written email messages will damage customer relationships and tarnish your professional image. Misspellings and incorrect word usage are the most common errors in workplace emails.

Consider this:

  • Your customer will be offended if his or her name is spelled wrong.
  • When you use a word that is spelled correctly but has the wrong usage, it can hurt your professional credibility. Others may perceive you as being careless, apathetic, or just not very smart.

How is your spelling?

Do you confuse common “sound-alike” words such as “accept” and “except?” These are often referred to as notorious confusables. Here are examples of common mistakes:

  • it’s and its

These are two of the most confusing words in the English language. What is its color? It’s blue. It’s been fun. Remember, “it’s” means it is or it has! Use its to show possession. The cat hurt its paw. The furniture store celebrated its tenth anniversary.

  • access and excess

She needs a key to access the contents of the desk drawer. We had an excess number of donuts for the meeting. The number of employees who wanted access to the training seminar was in excess of one hundred.

  • complimented and complemented

If someone passes you a good remark about your behavior, he is complimenting you The teacher complimented Emma for her respectable behavior in class. If you would like to enhance the quality of something, you’re complementing one thing with another. A pair of spectacles complemented her official apparel.

She complimented her friend on the way her drapes complemented her furniture.

  • they’re and there and their

They’re going to ship their package over there by tomorrow. Remember, “they’re” means they are. Use “their” to show possession.

Incorrect spelling is a growing concern in business. Technology is a major cause of the problem. Don’t rely on the spell checker programs installed on your computer. You can start there, but if you are not absolutely certain about the meaning or spelling of a word, I suggest you take it a step further and refer to other sources.

  • You can find a complete list and test your knowledge of grammar with this terrific resource https://www.grammarly.com
  • Don’t forget about looking up words in the good old dictionary. It’s easier than ever if you have access to the Internet. I recommend Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary  https://www.merriam-webster.com/

Related Posts