A missing hyphen can unravel your reputation

Occasionally we get a copy of a quote or specification from a prospect who says ‘quote me one of these’. Well, our version of that, anyway.

One such document I received yesterday yesterday, I combed first doing feature comparison with our products. And I noticed a couple English errors. First I thought maybe I just use a different vernacular to describe our equipment. Nope, found another definite grammatical error. And another.

This morning I picked it up again and started highlighting just the errors. It is full of them! Missing hyphens and periods. Odd capitalization. Periods for sentence fragments.

And there were language errors: pronouns without defined nouns; two sentences where one would suffice; poor use of passive voice.

Then I noticed the typographical errors: curly quote marks for noting inches; Bad word-wrapping; justified text.

You see how a few small errors suddenly makes the reader see every other error. And after all that, you start to notice how poorly worded much of the document is. It just completely unraveled.

The worst crime of this document is the lack of hyphenation. I recently helped my one son with a homework assignment on hyphens, so maybe I am being overly sensitive … or just that I’ve been doing this for 20 years. However, in technical documents, hyphens are pretty common to create specific terminology. “Non skidded” looks lame when your brain wants to put the hyphen in when you read it.

Like when I wrote about this same company last year in A competitor across the aisle, the lesson here is not about their equipment or terms-of-sale, but in their style and presentation. How many prospects read this document and react like I did? It can’t do their reputation any good, that’s for sure!

(And as much as I am ranting and nit-picking, there is one detail that came up that I will be fixing in my marketing materials.)

5 Replies to “A missing hyphen can unravel your reputation”

  1. Dave,
    I’m a copywriter by profession who should know correct writing and punctuation. Yet I have all my work proofed by a professional for this very reason. Too many writing and punctuation errors detract from the message and make a very back impression.

  2. Ya actually even i have seen these errors many times in the articles.If the error is just once,then it is accepted but if it is happening many times,then it is actually gonna mark a question on your reputation.So always try and reduce errors.

  3. Have seen such kind of errors many times in articles.If the error is just once,then it is accepted but if it is happening many times, then it is actually gonna mark a question on your reputation.

Comments are closed.