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The Unrecognized Importance of Grammar in Sales Writing

When most people think of grammar at all, they think of boring, dusty English teachers droning on about rules and sentences and agreement and... *yawn*...

Surprise! Hiding under all that mold and garbage lay some very important gems. Maybe you missed them then, as so many did, but now you have no excuse. Here they are, slime-free and ready to use.

What's that you say? You've gotten along without knowing much about grammar for years and don't need it now? Fine. Really, that's fine with me. I have no problem with you making and living with your own decisions.

For you other guys, who are looking for ways to improve, to get an edge, to make that sales letter worth another few sales, I got a few words...

Gem Number One: Grammar is not a bunch of rules.

All that grammar is, and this is why it is SO important, is how to arrange words to get your meaning across clearly. That's it.

For some reason, this is not taught in school as the very first principle of grammar, even though it would make all the rest make a lot more sense. But you know it now.

When you write a sales letter, if you are not getting your message across as clearly as you could, you are not getting the results you could. Simple and obvious. And very unrecognized.

When you misuse an adjective, or mix up the tenses of verbs, your message gets muddled. It's not because you "broke a rule." It's because your meaning is not clear.

Here is Gem Number Two. Verbs and nouns have different forms and endings not because some professor invented them, but because they mean different things! Don't is not the same as Doesn't. You doesn't gotta use words right, but you can turn some people off if you don't.

Finally, Gem Number Three: Grammar is not that hard to learn. Most of the grammar taught in school is excessive. No one but a grammar teacher needs to know that much about it. What a person needs to know is what are the parts of speech and how are sentences put together. With those two basic areas well understood, a person can get his meaning across clearly and forcefully, every time.

Yes, there is a lot more to effective writing than grammar. But none of it, not the catchy phrases or the marketing buttons or the "magic words known only to those who read this newsletter" mean diddly-squat, if they don't get your message across. And that is done with grammar.

You can study and learn everything there is to know about writing sales letters or advertising copy, but if you don't get your message across clearly, if you confuse the reader in even one sentence, you can lose that sale. You won't lose every sale. But you will lose some.

Now you know the importance of grammar in sales writing. What are you going to do about it? This is a Big Moment. Do you go on to the next article, or the next thing on your list, OR, do you grab a pen or pencil and a piece of paper and write LEARN GRAMMAR! in big letters so you won't forget?

Let me know what you choose, would you?

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Don Dewsnap has been writing professionally for almost thirty years. Currently he is publishing a series of Basic Glossaries as e-books, starting with The Basic Glossary of Grammar, at

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