Monday, October 28, 2013

An embarrassing promo from Grammarly

I received a promotional email from a fellow at Grammarly. Here it is, with my reactions interspersed.

Hi Joe,

You know better than most that putting your writing “out there”

[Instead of “putting your writing ‘out there,’ ” why not use the more natural “publishing your writing”? Also, the cliche “out there” distracts the reader by introducing a tone of paranoia.]

takes a tremendous amount of courage; readers will find and comment on even the simplest mistakes. At Grammarly we know the feeling - and we’ve made it our mission to improve writers’ confidence.

[Not to tell you how to run your business, but wouldn’t it be better to make it your mission to improve writers’ writing? Excessive confidence is a major reason why one-third of Americans are illiterate; instead of teaching grammar, the grammar schools instill self-esteem (unwarranted, delusional confidence). It seems to me that a company called Grammarly should be the last entity in the world pandering to the delusion.]

Putting our money where our mouth is, we’d be honored to sponsor your next blog post with a $100 Amazon gift card.

[I don’t understand the logic of that sentence.]

In case you haven’t heard of us, Grammarly is an automated online proofreader that finds and explains those pesky

[I have never seen a grown man actually write the childish word pesky, except in jest.]

grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes that are bound to find their way into your first draft.

[Mistakes do not “find their way into” my first drafts; I make the mistakes. Your “find their way into” has the same tone of paranoia as your “out there,” as in “Ohhh, those mistakes are swarming out there like mosquitoes, just waiting for a chance to find their way into my office and my first draft.”]

Think of us as a second pair of digital eyes

[Where was the first pair of digital eyes? My eyes are human.]

that can spare you the cost of hiring a proofreader. If you'd like to join our 3 million users and try the premium version of our proofreader for free, let me know and I’ll make it happen!

[“Make it happen” is an annoying cliche. And please spare me the gratuitous exclamation point.]

Please send me the expected publishing date and topic of your next appropriate blog post (ideally something about writing) so I can give you all the details you need in time.

[No, thank you. I was already thinking of buying a subscription to Grammarly, which appears to be a useful tool. Even this embarrassing email won’t deter me; I’ll give the company the benefit of the doubt and assume that the employees who designed the product are more diligent than you.]

The Takeaway: Edit and proofread everything you intend to publish. Everything.

Disclaimer: I have no financial interest in Grammarly. Also see my general disclaimer.

1 comment:

  1. I would have got annoyed right from the start by the first-name salutation. Do they really know you that well? I hope you demand your $100 gift card for this post. Keen businesspersons like those at Grammarly will know that there's no bad publicity. I love the comment about digital eyes, and I hope I have expressed myself grammarly without any of those pesky mistakes.