Thursday, July 9, 2009

Does spelling matter?

What about grammar? I'm not talking about the immediacy of chat or even forums or convos here, but about the less transient communication on Etsy. When it comes to listings, profiles, policies, or shop announcements, does it matter to potential customers if the spelling is off, the word use or punctuation wrong, or if the grammar isn't what it might be?

Here's an example, from Etsy itself. If you've ever decided to end a Treasury early (as I did one day when my current Treasury was set to expire in a couple of hours anyway, and I wanted to get a new one in), you'll have seen this message.

The error that jumps out is the "it's." The ONLY time there is ever an apostrophe in "it's" is when it is used as a contraction of "it is." Not as a possessive, not as a plural; only as a contraction.

Yes, I may be a bit of a stickler on this subject, but just as Etsians put so much time and effort into their work, their photographs, their banners, packaging, marketing and so on, isn't making a positive, professional impression in words important too?

Some others I see in various shops:

Stationary instead of Stationery. If you're selling paper products, they're stationery (with the e). Stationary describes something that's not moving; it's not an alternate or British/Canadian spelling for writing paper and cards!

Typos / spellos (sometimes appearing both ways in a single listing): Pendent instead of pendant. lable instead of label, saphire instead of sapphire. Spell-check in your word processing software will catch most of them, but if you have any doubt, look it up! This isn't just about being a slave to accuracy; mis-spelling in titles and tags can affect your search results, and that can affect your sales!

No one expects rigid adherence to all the rules - especially in such a multinational and multilingual place - but is it worth a try, or does it really not matter?

Judith (aka jswrites)


  1. Great post!! Very important points.

    Heathen's Hearth

  2. I think it matters, for sure. I agree, excellent post Judith!


  3. Oh, it matters. Understanding *what* you're saying is also important as I once spotted "he is my night and shining armor." The proper use of language, spelling, and punctuation makes for a more professional presentation and lends to a sense of competency.

  4. Holy crap. That "it's" is crazy bad. That is like nails on a chalkboard for me.

    I definitely think that grammar and spelling matter in your tags and listings. Less so in comments and chat. :)

  5. Wrong spelling annoys me to no end! Good post.

  6. Thank you so much for posting this! I am a HUGE grammar nut and so much of what I see drives me crazy.

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  8. Spelling errors bother me to no end and the misuse of words - their instead of there; know instead of no. ugh.

  9. What seems really odd in these affirmations is that most of them contain grammatical errors! I think the posters should examine the problem of sentence fragments, and also the misuse of the comma, semi-colon, and dash!


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