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David Porter » Business English

Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPAG)

SPAG errors cost money.

They also look bad if your written communications to the public and customers are badly presented and littered with basic English howlers!

A July 2011 report on BBC News Education and Family suggests that businesses trading on the web are losing millions of pounds through bad grammar, poor spelling and misunderstood punctuation.

Charles Duncombe, in travel, mobile phones and clothing websites, pointed out how online errors cost sales, because they diminish the credibility of a site.  He said that he had been ‘shocked’ by poor written English in many job applications, too.

Head of Education and Skills at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), James Fothergill, agreed by stating that many employers invested in remedial English for staff. In autumn 2010 it was reported that the Leeds Building Society had recruited a retired English teacher to tutor staff in English to raise the standard of their communications.

While informality of English usage has become commonplace in social networking and texting, the exam system is fighting back at 16 yrs and 18 yrs of age and employers are demanding better English from staff.

No errors, good style. Clarity and purpose in language.

That shouldn’t be too much to ask of employees nowadays, with UK net sales rising exponentially year on year and almost all net sales relying on the written word.


Internal and external written communications, memos, reports, advertising copy, formal letters: as a teacher and examiner/assessor with additional experience in teaching English to bankers and insurance industry staff and book editing, I can help by doing some and showing you how. I can check your written material for you.

Equally, I can work with you to train staff and set up systems for ensuring standards of English are maintained.

I can be your ghost writer. Nobody needs to know!

The apostrophe, speech/quotation marks, paragraphing, business-specific English, clarity in instructions – these need not be mysteries known only by a few.  Why not get touch? Let’s start working together on your business communication.

Or, if you need quality web content writing, informative/instructional pieces, Qs & As, copywriting for the web, I am working more and more in that area. Many clients publish the work under their own bylines, which suits them well. Why not get in touch and let’s start talking about how I can help your business communicate in good, effective English?

Filed under: Business English