You don’t have to be a former English major to be a stickler for grammar. Chances are, more of your clients and coworkers than you even realize care a great deal about proper grammar. Your emails may be making them cringe if you’re wrongly including any of these 14 commonly misused words pointed out by CNBC writer Ruth Umoh.
Contrary to seemingly popular belief, these two words are NOT interchangeable. Here’s the usage trick laid out by Umoh: if you can count the number of whatever it is you’re referencing, use the word “fewer.” If you can’t, use “less.” Remember, this rule is important enough that the Game of Thrones TV show had two characters correct the misuse of the word “less.” Three times. In the game of sales, you use grammar properly, or you look uneducated.
Is what you’re referring to really happening or going to happen? Then, and only then, are you allowed to use the word “literally.” If you choose the word “literally” to describe metaphorical outcomes or to emphasize a present situation beyond what it actually is, you’re only coming off as unnecessarily dramatic. Well, that, or like you don’t know what the word “literally” means. Well done.
Businesses you’re hoping to work with in the future are prospective clients. Umoh defines prospective as, “expected in the future.” Your clients’ or coworkers’ “perspective” of you is what will change if you misspell “prospective.” Keep their viewpoint of you stellar by knowing the difference between the two words and using them correctly.
Check out the rest of Umoh’s article to learn how to properly use the remaining nine words that are tragically misused on an hourly basis. You’re an educated salesperson who cares about the finer details of your service and work, right? Make sure your writing reflects that.