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Grammarly is God (or, why tone matters – part 2)

In the last frankwords, we talked about tone in our online presence. I promised a little insight into a fantastic little tool called Grammarly. Well, here it is.

If you haven’t heard of Grammarly then I suggest you don’t Google it unless you are planning on getting it – they seem to have a large advertising budget and great targeting. Anyway, good on them, it worked on me…Back on track. Grammarly is a fantastic tool for quite frankly anyone who does a little, or a lot, of writing, sends emails, texts people other than their besties, or, post for business purposes to social media.

There are a few things Grammarly does which I am going to focus on that are very useful in our social media captions and business communications. The first one, picking up from where we left off last time, is tone. Sorry to harp on but like I said, tone is so important when it comes to getting our message across effectively, without pissing anyone off, looking unprofessional or giving our brand an unwanted persona. I promise you it’s quite entertaining (and they use cute little emojis – who doesn’t like emojis?)

Below is my first attempt at using Grammarly’s in-built tone detector.

It started off rocky with the little angry emoji; however, I quickly worded it to sound a little sweeter. If I were ‘old mate’ I would be entirely disarmed by that email, possibly even a little scared of the smiling assassin behind it. Straight away, I was impressed. 

Once you have installed Grammarly on your browser or downloaded the app on your phone, Grammarly checks almost everything you write.  It’s like your little angel on your shoulder, checking everything you do and giving you the “tsk, tsk, tsk” if you aren’t on point. It even checked my shopping list the other day, and boy, how accurate it was (apart from sounding egocentric).

It doesn’t always get it right, but if anything, it makes you stop to think about how you are coming across to the reader.

Anyway, enough about tone, time to move on! (kind of).

The second thing Grammarly is fantastic for is, of course, spelling and grammar. I say kind of because using non-standard English can also change the tone and give the wrong impression to the reader.

I understand that non-standard English has become a thing, and thanks to the rise in social media, it seems like people just don’t care about proper English these days. We pretty much need a second dictionary full of the casual slang and abbreviations we all use so often now. 

If you’re talking to your mates on your personal page, I say go for gold sunshine – they love you, even if they can’t understand you.  However, making simple spelling and grammar mistakes in your captions on your business page is just not a good look.

I’m not saying you have to sound like you are addressing the Queen of England 24/7 – using some slang and abbreviations is fine, especially if you are going for a more casual and relaxed brand voice aimed at a younger generation. It’s when you start making the little mistakes in common words and grammar that it starts to look sloppy, unprofessional and like you simply don’t care:

If you are anything like me, when you read your own work, if it makes sense, then your brain will skip over small spelling errors which make no difference to the pronunciation of the word. This is a real pain. If you switch to the Grammarly keyboard while writing your captions on your phone or tablet, it will change and make suggestions in real-time, and you can pick up those little spelling and grammatical errors before they become an issue. 

There are a whole host of cool features and useful tips on Grammarly. If you write blogs or articles, I would highly recommend installing it to your browser. So far in this blog, Grammarly has 51 suggestions for me, 9 of which are apparently critical. You can adjust it to suggest corrections by how you want your writing to sound, so the recommendations are usually relevant and it just takes what you have written up a notch.

Anyway, download it, have a play and see what you think. Maybe go over some of your previous posts and pieces of writing and see what Grammarly has to say about them. 

Remember, the choice of a single word can change the tone of a whole body of text. The sloppy use of standard English can also change the tone and give a bad impression of your brand. A writer’s tone (or brand voice) is very important, as it conveys a particular message from you as the writer (brand owner) and likewise affects the reader (client or customer) in a particular way.

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