Gremlins in the Mix: Poor First Impressions

Gremlins in the Mix: Poor First Impressions


In transferring across to a new email provider (Mailchimp), I inadvertently sent out an email that got hit by the gremlins.

The first sentence was full of gobbledygook. Now I’m not sure how that happened, but it got me thinking about clear and unequivocal communication. And how often we get things misinterpreted.

In the context of impressions management, which CareerSupport365 teaches through its Personal Branding Bundle, here are some helpful insights and guidelines on clear communication and first impressions.

Poor First Impressions

CareerSupport365 | Gremlins in the Mix: Poor First ImpressionsIncorrect grammar makes a poor first impression.

If there are grammatical errors in a document, such as your CV or your LinkedIn profile, then a Recruiter or Hiring Manager may perceive you as less diligent, than the job seeker who proofreads more exactly.

And, if your business’s marketing materials have grammatical mistakes in them, then clients and prospects might perceive these as an indication that your company is sloppy or unreliable.

Common Grammar Mistakes

What types of mistakes indicate poor grammar? According to experts, the following grammatical errors are the most common:

* Combination of at least two complete thoughts without the proper punctuation between clauses:

“What is this thing called, love?” (With thanks to Benny Hill.)

* Sentences with an unclear antecedent:

“Kath told her Mum her stocking had a ladder in it.”

* Confusing apostrophes that indicate possession with apostrophes that indicate omitted letters:

Susan’s vs Didn’t

* Having two negatives in one sentence to indicate the opposite of what you actually mean:

I shouldn’t care what people don’t think.

* Misplaced modifiers that either modify two separate words or appear to modify the wrong part of the sentence:

Eagerly awaiting his birthday, Jane’s gifts were all picked up and admired by Jane many times throughout the course of the day.

* Overuse of preposition phrases:

“without a doubt”; “on occasion”; “since the beginning”.

Improving Your Grammar Resources

There are some really helpful online resources to improve grammar:

  • YourDictionary has grammar rules and usage tips.
  • Write 101 offers a comprehensive collection of over 800 articles devoted to helping you improve your writing.
  • Daily Grammar offers free e-mail grammar lessons Monday through Friday, with a quiz to test your skills on Saturday. The site also features a searchable archive of previous grammar lessons and quizzes.

What Is The Cost of Bad Grammar?

CareerSupport365 | Gremlins in the Mix: Poor First Impressions

A grammatical blunder forced Rogers Communications Inc. to pay an extra $2.13 million by the misplacement of a comma in a critical clause in their contract.

What was the clause? It read:

The agreement “shall continue in force for a period of five years from the date it is made, and thereafter for successive five year terms, unless and until terminated by one year prior notice in writing by either party.”

The lawyers asserted: “Based on the rules of punctuation,” the comma in question “allows for the termination of the [contract ] at any time, without cause, upon one-year’s written notice,” the regulator said.


Oopses can indeed be costly!! So sorry about my gobbledygook email. Am I forgiven? 

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About the author:

Greg Weiss is the Founder of CareerSupport365. He has almost 30 years success in HR and in career coaching people.

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