18 Mar

The Importance of Proper Word Choice

By Libby Esterle, Senior Account Executive

Jimmy Fallon is known for his witty banter, self-deprecating humor and good-natured teasing. From sharing hilarious “Mom Texts” submitted by his Twitter followers, to watching his epic Lip Sync Battles with the likes of Paul Rudd and Emma Stone, to his “The Tonight Show” celebrity interviews, he can always be counted on for some laughs. Recently, he also asked people to “Ruin Movies with One Word” and the results are pretty funny.

Being in the marketing and communications industry, we know the impact words—and word choice—can have on messaging. Same goes for proper punctuation. Consider the following examples:

  • Homograph: Tear (to rip apart) vs. tear (a tear rolled down her cheek). Most of the time, context clues will help distinguish between the words’ meanings when written, but things can get tricky when two words sound the same (per the example below).
  • Homophone: Manor vs. manner. This is a real-life example that I caught while proofing a very high-level, in-depth business proposal for a family member as a favor (manner being the correct spelling in this case). Of course, it wasn’t caught by spell check and is a great example of how critical it is to have another set of eyes proof materials prior to submission.
  • Proper punctuation: Commas can be life-changing! Consider the difference in one of my personal favorites— “Let’s eat, Grandma.” vs. “Let’s eat Grandma!” And with the recent resurgence of the serial, or Oxford comma, it is important to know appropriate comma use.

What are some common mistakes you see when it comes to choosing (or not) the right word?