Let's eat grandad

Poor writing skills are often the quickest way to damage your credibility with clients.

Every email and proposal that you and your team send out is, hopefully, elegantly written, professional and with apostrophes all in the right places.

This ten question grammar test will help you to spot any weaknesses and put them right. The answers and a brief explanation of the grammar rule can be found by clicking on Answers button below.

Click here for the grammar test

  1. Their not going to hit their targets
  2. They’re having there meeting at four O’clock
  3. Its going to work this time
  4. The team has improved it’s performance this year
  5. The results of the presentation is eagerly awaited
  6. These kind of complaints are difficult to resolve
  7. We have been offered a fairly unique opportunity
  8. You shall find the offices next to the station around the corner from John Lewis
  9. There’s too many people on this floor
  10. Pete’s manager said he would have to move to the digital team soon

Answers

  1. They’re not going to hit their targets
  2. They’re having their meeting at four O’clock

You need to check your there, their and there’s 

  1. It’s going to work this time

It’s with an apostrophe shows you that there’s an ‘I’ missing, it is. 

  1. The team has improved its performance this year

There’s no ‘i’ missing here, this one really irritates writers and pedants. 

  1. The results of the presentation are eagerly awaited

Agreement; the ‘results’ has to agree with ‘are’ 

  1. These kinds of complaints are difficult to resolve

Agreement again, it sounds odd but it’s either ‘this kind’ or ‘these kinds’.

  1. We have been offered a unique opportunity

It can’t be fairly unique, this is a contradiction – oxymoron to you English grads out there. 

  1. You will find the offices next to the station around the corner from John Lewis

‘Shall’ is old fashioned in this context check your writing for overly stuffy vocabulary. 

  1. There are too many people on this floor

Agreement again, if you say it out loud, ‘there is too many people..’ it sounds wrong, the apostrophe can fool us into thinking it’s correct. 

  1. Pete’s manager said Pete would have to move to the display team soon

The original sentence doesn’t make it clear who is moving to the display team, proposals, in particular can have ambiguous phrases in them that can lead to big misunderstandings with clients. Repeating the name is better than not expressing yourself clearly. The primary goal of any written communication is to express not impress as Mrs Broomhead, my old English teacher, was fond of telling me. 

Results

0-4/10

Turn on your grammar checker and ask a colleague to cast an eye over your written communication. You can find some really helpful material in a book called ‘Eats shoots and leaves’ by Lynn Truss - a brilliant book to help you with grammar and punctuation. 

4-7/10

Not bad, check to see if your errors fall into the same category and look at where your blind spots are. 

7-9/10

A grade students, well done. 

10/10

I’m guessing that you have an English A’Level or that English is your second language and you have had learn a lot of grammar rules the hard way. If you are wondering why your colleagues found this so tricky perhaps you could lend them a hand.

If you’re interested in improving the written sales pitches, presentation material or writing skills of your team contact Behind the Lines This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we can build a session to help make your material really work for you.

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