It Still Matters…Even in Voiceover

by | Feb 17, 2016 | Writing | 7 comments

grammar2The word “ludicrous” doesn’t pop up in TV news copy very often, but lately, when it DOES…it’s spelled “ludacris”.  Excuse me, but that in itself is ludicrous!

Good spelling and grammar still count.  I gnash my teeth saying that, because I truly believe English is a living, breathing, morphing, and ever-changing animal.  Even in this blog, I use “gonna” and “hafta” to be conversational.  But when I write the contraction to “you are”…I always write “you’re”.  Not “your”.  Others of you have a particular aversion to “it’s” when the correct use of the word in context is “its”.  The list of spelling/grammar pet peeves is endless.

People who are sticklers for these things have their place in the world beyond making you feel sheepish and guilty for being a bad speller or grammarian.

You can call us snobs, I guess, and you’d be right.  But here’s the thing:  in the world of BUSINESS.  These matters of etiquette still count.  Your newsletter, your email, your blog is IMMEDIATELY marked down by the possible VO client or prospect who cares about these things…and most perfectionists (like the kind who hire voice talent) DO care.

Let me ask you this; how many times have you noticed, and complained to yourself, or even were somewhat confused by misspellings or bad punctuation in the copy you’ve been sent to voice?  It matters.  When you see sloppy copy, you begin to wonder about the copywriter, yes, but you might even begin to call into question the efficacy of the entire project.

The converse is true too.  In all your written dealings with clients, producers, agents, and prospects…they notice. They notice how you conduct yourself as a business person.  Use spell-checker.  Try Grammerly.  It works like a snap.

Don’t believe me.  Read this article:  Yes, Good Grammar is (Still) Important, and Here’s Why.

SO MANY great thoughts by Megan Krause:

  • people make involuntary judgements about you based on your grammar
  • are you a “purist”, a “rebel”, or a “don’t-know-don’t-care”?
  • people who cannot distinguish between good and bad language are unlikely to think carefully about anything else
  • grammar is a brand ambassador
  • the better the grammar, the clearer the message
  • language is the tool with which we try to make sense of it all
Trust me.  Take the time to read it.
CourVO

Comments

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7 Comments

  1. Colin McLean

    Purist, stickler, curmudgeon or worse .. I’ll happily put up my hand, Dave, and declare myself firmly in your camp. It all adds up, in my book at least, to a certain amount of pride but a greater deal of courtesy.

    Reply
    • CourVO

      Thanks, Colin! I appreciate your support!

      Best,

      Dave Courvoisier

      Reply
  2. Jeff Berlin

    Script from an ad agency yesterday with very many typos and misspellings had me thinking very little of that agency, as well as the client who hired that agency.

    Reply
  3. Lynden Blossom

    Thank You so very much for addressing this! As a former English teacher, now a Voiceover professional, I sadly feel that correct grammar, spelling, punctuation and our language in general have been so incredibly ‘compromised’ in recent years. I do feel that it’s important in all aspects of our business to use it correctly. I’ve had situations with very poorly written copy and it’s very tough to read it and make sense of it. It’s nice to hear that someone else believes that it’s important! ;-}

    Reply
  4. Mike Harrison

    I don’t think there’s anyone who notices these spelling and grammar issues more than I do (I have a background as typesetter and proofreader). And, as a student with only average grades, it makes my head spin, wondering why what seems to be so many didn’t remember much of what they’d been taught, as they can’t seem to be able to spell some simple, common words.

    But I should point out – and I’m kinda surprised I know this – that Ludacris (that spelling) is the stage name of rapper Chris Bridges.

    Also a word of caution to those who rely on them: spell-checkers catch ONLY spelling errors; they do not “know” context. My first-hand example is that of a former coworker years ago, proud that he’d just finished his first letter composed and spell-checked in Microsoft Word. The last line of the sales letter he’d already mailed read:

    “If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ball me.”

    “Ball” was spelled correctly.

    NOTHING replaces a fresh set of eyes. Compose important correspondence, check it over quickly and then save it… for at least several hours. Then read it CAREFULLY, SLOWLY and make any changes before sending.

    Reply
    • CourVO

      Mike,

      Oh, I’m well aware that Ludacris is a rapper. Which makes it all the more sad that a socially trending name is able to sway decades of tradition. Thanks for taking the time to write Mike – always!

      Dave Courvoisier

      Reply
      • Mike Harrison

        Agreed, Dave. I think the first glaring misspelling I saw in social media – years ago already – was “prolly.” It took me a couple of seconds to realize that this was the phonetic spelling of the lazy pronunciation of “probably.” Since that time, it appears more and more that people lean toward spelling words the way they hear them, rather than looking them up to be sure. Fine, I suppose, in social media, but as you pointed out, that’s very bad in business correspondence.

        However, with that same thought process in mind, I’ve also noticed another very disappointing trend: people will post in a public forum a question (to which the answer can be easily found) and wait for responses from complete strangers (making it entirely possible that the responses will be opinion and not necessarily factual), rather than simply seeking the answer themselves from reliable sources. First-hand example: I know someone who is a licensed massage therapist. One day, he posted on his Facebook page, asking his followers how he could find out his license number. By doing so, this “professional” stated publicly (and perhaps to potential clients) that he not only had misplaced his license but that he also didn’t have a clue as to how to move forward. (I Googled the appropriate state agency where he lives, went to their website and entered his name and, within seconds, had his license number. This took all of, maybe, a minute.)

        Additionally, there are an increasing number of people who believe that Google is the unquestionable source of truth and fact where, as we know, it is merely an index of documents written by any person of any background. Like a library, which makes available publications of any kind, it’s up to us to know how to separate the wheat from the chaff.

        Your examples and the ones I’ve added show an alarming trend toward ignorance seemingly, in many cases, fueled by laziness.

        Didn’t this all begin with our predecessors grunting while gesturing at cave paintings? 😉

        Reply

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