Bad Grammar is Bad for Business -->

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Bad Grammar is Bad for Business

Amber Cook
By Amber Cook, Senior Writing Specialist

There’s a gym not far from my house. The gym’s marquee last week read like this:


Now, it’s certainly possible that this gym has run out of contract memberships: Perhaps they had memberships that require a contract, and there are no more available. If you’ve ever been to a gym, though, you probably know that contracts are pretty much always available. Just TRY to join a gym without signing one.

It’s probably safe to assume, then, that this gym intended to advertise no-contract memberships (memberships that do not require a contract). Here, that teeny-tiny missing hyphen means the difference between turning customers away and inviting them to try a new type of membership.

Granted, not every driver passing that sign last week was a grammar nerd like me. Maybe most readers made the same assumption I did, mentally supplying the needed hyphen. In communicating, though, one goal is to reach as many people as possible with the clearest possible message. Even if only 20% of the readers were confused by the missing hyphen, that’s still a significant loss of potential customers.

The next time you’re passing by the marquee in front of your workplace (or any other public written work that represents your company), try to see it from the perspective of your potential consumer. Perhaps you can catch an error that will lead to more business. Who knew good grammar could be so profitable?