With the continuous press by Hyundai to impose “Live Brilliant” on us as a traditional component of English,* it is time to usage that grammatically incorrect expression to make a suggest that smaller businesses without astronomical marketing budgets should save in mind:

Hyundai and other huge establishments can put millions behind a grammar blunder and also beat us right into acceptance by sheer force of “reach and also frequency.”
The remainder of us execute not have that deluxe. Using bad grammar in your marketing interactions will certainly do just one thing: Leave a poor impression via the 10-15% of the populace that cares about it.

The grammar debate in marketing is not new.The Winston cigarette brand also was famously taken to task for “Winston tastes excellent, choose a cigarette must.” Grammarians gave them millions in cost-free publicity by arguing that “Winston tastes good as a cigarette need to.” Equally famously, Winston responded with “What carry out you want, excellent grammar or excellent taste?”

(My discussion earlier would have actually been: “I want both Good Grammar and also Good Taste!”)

More to the suggest, as a businessperkid via limited budgets, you will not get the possibility to respond to disgruntled prospects as the Winston civilization did, so you need to be more mindful.Would you be willing to sacrifice 10% of your potential audience because you won’t dedicate the few added minutes it would take to have someone proofcheck out your copy for grammatical correctness?

Tright here is an upside to investing in a little grammar checking: Issuing copy that does exhibit such attention to detail will certainly leave a good impression on that 10-15% of the populace that can grade you up for taking the moment to write correctly. And the human being that don’t treatment will certainly most likely not host it against you.

You are watching: What do you want good grammar or good taste

Tright here is an additional ironic difficulty with the Hyundai error that is additionally instructive.“Live Brilliant” is much less elegant than “Live Brilliantly.” Hyundai is striving for a more sophisticated photo through this project. They are trying to take the brand “up-sector,” and also have crafted some lovely, elegant, aspirational, even lyrical spots and also ads to construct this new positioning. Then they finish with a chunky, clunky tagline that ruins the mood, where “Live Brilliantly” would certainly have closed the deal a lot more beautifully.*

Here is a respond to instance which provides my point even more impactcompletely. Premium Outallows sent me this postcard to promote their uprange mall in Livereven more, CA :

Notice that their tagline is “Shop brilliantly,” not “Shop brilliant.” Using the adverb effectively supports their uprange placing a lot more strongly than the punchier adjective would have.

Pay attention to information to save your image poliburned.

You just have a couple of possibilities to make a positive impression on prospects, that need to decide whether to keep you on their brief list of options once a need arises. Don’t throw it away by letting bad grammar slip via your proofreading dragnet.

When writing organization letters, e-mails, web content, ad copy and also mailers, check for these adjectives masquerading as adverbs (But: See Addendum below - I have to stand also corrected on what English accepts as good grammer.)

Buy Direct vs. Buy Directly It doesn’t come cheap vs. It doesn’t come cheaply It job-related perfect (or pretty good) vs. It functions perfectly (or pretty well) We take it personal right here at Acme vs. We take it personally here at Acme Drive Safe vs. Drive Safely

I have actually checked out or heard all of these in promotional settings at some suggest in 2014. (If anyone has any kind of others that they have spotted, leave them as a comment.)

Next off , speak abmaking use of the reflexive pronoun in your business communications:


If you have any type of concerns, contact Dave or myself.

If anything alters, myself or Anna will certainly get ago to you.

(I saw a variation of this just last month in an e-mail.)


If you have actually any inquiries, contact Dave or me.

If anypoint transforms, Anna or I will certainly acquire back to you.

Several of you will say “hey, those errors are made all the time, and no one notices.” I would certainly argue that some civilization carry out notice, and what is the hazard in taking the greater road and also leaving a better impression?

Also, if everyone else is making use of grammar poorly, why not stand out from the crowd by utilizing it properly?

I understand proofreading deserve to be a tedious job, but if you case to be a top-quality outfit and also you don’t insist on top-top quality grammar, you contradict yourself in the marketplace.

What do you think? Should we insist on “great grammar and also great taste?" Am I shouting in the wilderness on this one?

Addendum (posted Aug. 30, 2014):

As it turns out, I may indeed be shouting in the wilderness. An eminent grammarian has actually sent out me the distressing news that “adjectives masquerading as adverbs” actually have the blessing of the arbiters of English usage. It appears that human being have actually been utilizing adjectives as adverbs for so lengthy, and so routinely, that academia has actually acquiesced: A category called “level adverbs” was created years ago that confirms and also makes “OK” provides prefer “buy regional,” “deal direct” and “come cheap.”

Sad news. The eventual elimination of the adverb (abetted by the marketing industry’s endless search for punch and pith) might actually occur as the years pass, and also few via any kind of “grammarial punch” will bother to defend it!

I will proceed to keep that “level adverbs” are simply that: Flat, uninspiring, chunky and also clunky. If you desire to show up more expert, even more sophisticated, more “pleasing to the ear” in your written work-related than your competition, usage the formal adverb.

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Now please foroffer me; I should go discover a Saturday evening beer in which to cry over the embraced presence of flat adverbs!

*Note: If someone from Hyundai desires to chime in with a defense for the punchy, awkward “Live Brilliant” over the even more mellifluous “Live Brilliantly,” I would certainly love to obtain your input in the comments section!


I job-related through start-ups and also various other small and also mid-sized businesses to produce an extra focused, disciplined marketing culture within their organization. With Each Other we emphasis their money and time on just those efforts that make the the majority of feeling given their obtainable resources. This sets them up for faster expansion. Some clients call me their “rent-a-marketing male,” as I am a jack-of-all-trades that functions on the whole marketing mix, not just one specialty. That said, I seem to spfinish a lot of of my time on content marketing these days, a space that bedevils smaller businesses. More generally, my goal is constantly to work myself out of a task, as the firm grows to the allude where it have the right to replace me via a full time marketing executive.