Copywriting Grammar: Intro

Copywriting Grammar: Does It Matter?

Copy takes all shapes and sizes. Sometimes, you just need a catchy slogan. Other times, you need full web pages of explanation (and enticement).

No matter how long or short your copy is, grammar can affect the clarity of your message. Granted, copy doesn’t need to be in perfect Standard English, since most people will understand certain “mistakes” as stylistic choices that make the message simpler; however, there are times when sloppy grammar can ruin your clarity.

A confused customer always says no.

Just so we’re on the same page, let me provide some examples to show when ignoring grammar rules works and when it doesn’t.

Sentence fragments are the most prevalent grammar errors in copy because they work (most of the time).

Fun. Free. The Library!

In the example above, we have four sentence fragments strung together, but the message is obvious. However…

While making you thinner!

In this example, “while making you thinner” is a subordinate clause that isn’t attached to an independent clause. We don’t know what’s happening while you get thinner. Plus, if the sentence were inserted in between two others, such as in…

Brownies are delicious. While making you thinner. Cakes are delicious, too!

We don’t know whether brownies or cakes will make you thinner. While we’re prone to be suspicious of this statement, good grammar would at least have made the claim slightly more believable.

And that’s a major point to be made: good grammar conveys trustworthiness to more discriminating customers. Most of your customers won’t be grammar gurus, but many will have a decent sense for grammar. Plus, you don’t want your weight-loss brownies to get dismissed because of a lack of clarity.