real estate marketing grammar: No, web visitors won’t read a whole page of copy – unless…
- 04/20/17 02:14 PM
The battle between long copy and short copy will probably still be raging when our great-grandchildren are adults.
Some say you MUST have 2,000 words if you expect Google to find you. Others say that web visitors won’t read more than 200 words. Both theories have been proven wrong – over and over again.
I sent a bio to a client a week or so ago and he wrote back to say it was way too long (at 400 words) because people only have a 9 second attention span. I disagreed, but "The customer is always right."
The truth is – there are
real estate marketing grammar: Be careful to match the verb to the correct noun
- 03/30/17 02:34 PM
Yesterday, while writing a real estate bio, I made a common mistake: I matched a verb to a noun in the prepositional phrase rather than to the subject.
The sentence went something like: “Each of his listings, from fixer to mansion, is …” But the first time through, I latched on to the word “listings” instead of the word “each,” and wrote “are.”
All I can say is that I’m glad I printed this out, let it sit overnight, and looked at it again this morning. When I read it with fresh eyes, the error jumped out and yelled at me. Thankfully, I
real estate marketing grammar: Not sure whether to say we or us? Use this simple trick.
- 03/21/17 03:51 PM
Just this morning my mail included a message from a fellow copywriter who wanted to sell me a course on Tweeting for leads.
It began with “Nowadays us copywriters are being bombarded with…”
“Nowadays us are?” No, no, no!
“Us” is an object, not a subject – and if she’d just removed the qualifying word “copywriters,” she’d have seen her error in an instant and changed that “us” to “we.”
And that’s the simple trick. Simply remove qualifying words or other people, read the sentence aloud, and you can hear which word belongs.
If you read “Us is being bombarded…” you’d know
real estate marketing grammar: Did you write what you meant? The power of a comma.
- 03/18/17 01:17 PM
Have you ever heard of the Oxford Comma? I don’t think I had, until just a few years ago. Before that I used it without knowing its name.
Also known as the serial comma, it is the comma that goes before “and” or “or” in a list of three or more things. For instance, I would use it in a sentence such as “I wish you health, wealth, and happiness.”
Interestingly, the use or non-use of the Oxford comma is a subject of much debate and heated arguments.
The Associated Press Stylebook does not use it. The Chicago Manual of Style does. Publications such as the
real estate marketing grammar: If they won’t read it, why write it?
- 01/29/17 11:57 AM
When you take the time to write – whether it’s a blog post, a prospecting letter, or even a property description – you want people to read it. After that you want them to understand it and be motivated to act.
But the first task is getting them started on the first sentence.
You already know about Rule #1 – Never begin with “I” or “We.” So let’s go on to what I’ll call Rule #2 – Make it look inviting.
That means using a reasonable font size and breaking your paragraphs into small bites. Small print and long paragraphs look like encyclopedia
real estate marketing grammar: Another marketing stop sign...
- 07/09/16 03:57 AM
This morning's e-mail brought a message from a company that sells instruction in both copywriting and photography. The letter was selling a class and emphasizing the fact that you don't have to be young to learn new things and be successful.
It gave several examples, including one about a gentleman who competes in archery.
His story included a sentence which was a "stop sign" for me. I went back and re-read it, then I puzzled over it. And now I'm writing about it. I never did get around to reading the rest of their message.
Here's the sentence:
"Johnson is 57, and usually about
real estate marketing grammar: Is it "got" or "gotten?"
- 06/02/16 01:20 PM
Jane Peters asked me to write about the word "gotten," so here goes…
It's not a word I'd thought about, so off I went to Grammar Girl and a few other sites to learn what I could learn.
First, I learned that American, Canadian, and British English uses are not in agreement. Those using British English will use the word "got" where those using American or Canadian English will use "gotten."
Gotten is the past participle form of the word get. It generally (but not always) comes after the words has or have.
Proper use would be:
"I have gotten behind on my
real estate marketing grammar: Is Your Marketing Voice Active or Passive?
- 05/10/16 08:54 AM
Have you ever read something that “should” be good and informative, but it was so boring that you just couldn’t keep your mind from wandering?
You can probably blame passive voice.
If you’re like me you probably forgot all those grammar terms from High School. After all, you don’t exactly go around discussing “voice” or “tense” and diagramming the sentences you read in the newspaper.
But you do know what sounds good. You know the difference between a narrative that sounds dead and one that has life.
Some of the definitions of the word “passive” are “lacking in energy or will”
real estate marketing grammar: I told you so!
- 11/05/15 04:22 AM
Almost every time I write a post about grammar, word usage, or proofreading, someone comes up with the idea that I never make these mistakes - or that they have to be super-careful in commenting because I'll ... I don't know what. Think less of them, comment about it and embarras them, turn them into the grammar police? I don't know.
Anyway, I keep telling everyone that I make mistakes just like everyone else. Yes, I do proofread my work before I send it. Sometimes I go over it many times, checking for goofy errors.
Here's an email I got this morning
real estate marketing grammar: "Apostrophes do not plurals make..."
- 10/29/15 02:21 PM
OK, here I go again with a grammar/spelling/word usage rant.
More and more lately I'm seeing apostrophes used to form the plural of nouns - which they cannot, and do not do!
Plurals are formed by adding an "s" or sometimes an "es."
An apostrophe has two primary purposes in the English language.
One is to denote possession:
Sally's cat. That car's wheels. The agent's listing. The teacher's book. The stove's burners. Some words, however just ARE possessive, and don't need or want an apostrophe.
theirs hers his yours ours its The other use for apostrophes is to take the place of letters
real estate marketing grammar: Why do SO many agents misuse "advice" and "advise?"
- 10/15/15 07:46 AM
Why do SO many agents misuse "advice" and "advise?"
I've been wondering about that this week more than ever because I've been reading the entries in the October challenge about the very best advice for new agents.
I was just given the answer. Now I know why misuse of these words is growing by leaps and bounds. It's because agents are relying on Word to correct their mistakes.
I'm working on an agent bio and wrote: "He feels it's his duty to advise and protect…"
Word popped up to tell me "No, no, no. Change advise to advice."
Word is notorious for giving wrong advice, and
real estate marketing grammar: No Magic Wand for Grammar
- 10/08/15 04:56 AM
It's sad but true. There is no magic wand (or computer program) that will ensure that your written grammar is correct every time. Unless you have a basic understanding of the rules, you CAN be led astray by the tools developed to help you.
My Word program automatically tells me (or corrects automatically) when I write something like "teh," and it alerts me when it thinks I've made an error in grammar. Sometimes it's right – most times it's wrong. In fact, some of the "suggestions" are downright funny.
More help - perhaps
Last week I read about a program called "Grammarly" and installed
real estate marketing grammar: Using parentheses: Where does the punctuation belong?
- 09/12/15 04:34 AM
The question of where to put the punctuation when using parentheses came up in the comments on one of my recent grammar posts, so I went off to find the answer.
It turns out, this one is easy!
When the parentheses are at the end of a sentence, it depends upon what is inside.
If it's a complete sentence, the period, question mark, or exclamation point stays inside with its sentence. (But then remember, the previous sentence must also end with a punctuation mark.)
Please be here early. (We'll start precisely on time.) Remember to speak up. (Jerry is hard of hearing.) If
real estate marketing grammar: Does that Punctuation go Inside or Outside the quotes?
- 09/06/15 03:49 AM
Do you hesitate, wonder, and then re-write your sentences in order to avoid putting the comma, period, question mark, colon, or semicolon in the wrong spot with relation to a quotation?
Wonder no more. Thanks to a suggestion from Kathy Streib, I did the research and found simple answers. I also learned that the reason why it seems so confusing is that Americans do it one way while the British do it another.
Since we're in America, let's not worry about what the British are doing.
Here are our guidelines:
Semicolons, colons, and dashes always go outside the closing quotation mark:
"I follow a very
real estate marketing grammar: Does proper use of apostrophes confuse you?
- 08/25/15 03:03 AM
If you're confused over the proper use of apostrophes, you're not alone.
In a recent questionnaire, I asked my newsletter readers if there were some topics they'd like me to cover. One reader said "Grammar! And please start with the use of apostrophes."
Since the explanation is a bit long for the newsletter, I added a simple answer with a link to this post…
How to use apostrophes
Apostrophes have two functions. One is to stand in for letters that are missing. In the most common use, they form a contraction - such as turning can and not into can't or will and not into
real estate marketing grammar: "Irregardless" is a word, but...
- 08/03/15 03:25 AM
When discussing pet peeves in language, my fellow word lovers often mention the use of the word "irregardless."
Some have even expressed concern that its use is becoming so common that it may actually be included in dictionaries before long.
Bad news – it already is. BUT – those dictionaries note that it is NOT standard use. What does that mean? It means they recognize that it is common use, but it really isn't a proper word. It's lumped in with slang and jargon.
So WHY is irregardless not a proper word?
Because it's a double negative. Remember grade school – double negatives are a
real estate marketing grammar: Do your marketing efforts have an effect or an affect?
- 08/01/15 02:16 PM
Kathy Streib told me that the words "affect" and "effect" give her trouble, so she generally uses "impact" rather than choose one or the other.
Since I had at one time thought I knew the rule - but then found some exceptions that confused the issue, I decided to go look it up and give myself a refresher course.
I did – and now I'll share.
First – normal use:
Effect is a noun:
"Your marketing efforts will have a decided effect on your success."
Affect is a verb:
"The kind of marketing you do will affect the outcome."
In both of those cases, "impact" would
real estate marketing grammar: Lay vs. lie - which to use?
- 07/30/15 02:18 AM
Kathy Streib asked me to find some rules for the use of lie and lay, so I went in search... And found that there's no wonder most of us are confused.
Choosing whether to use lie or lay is easy if you're only working in present tense.
The confusion comes because:
Many people use these words incorrectly – in songs, and in phrases we hear often. The past tense is tricky Lay is a verb that requires a direct object. In other words, it's something you do with something else. "Please lay the report on my desk."
Lie does not. It's something you do,
real estate marketing grammar: Why do grammar, spelling, and word usage matter?
- 07/22/15 07:55 AM
Why do errors in grammar, spelling, and word usage matter in real estate marketing?
Because those errors make the reader focus on our words instead of our message.
And when readers pay more attention to the words that the thoughts they are trying to convey, communication falters.
Nobody writes just to exercise their fingers – we write to communicate. We may have a marketing message; we may be trying to persuade someone to see things our way; we may have information to convey; we may have a story to share; or we may just want to let someone know that we care about
real estate marketing grammar: Do you make these distracting/annoying grammar goofs?
- 07/18/15 04:57 AM
Some grammar goofs are more annoying and distracting than others, and I expect all of us who love words have a different idea of which are "worst of the worst." They're the ones that, for us, act like big stop signs in the text, just before they begin shouting "Error! Error! Error!"
When Kathy Streib and I were discussing this recently, she told me that the goof that annoys her the most is misuse of the words "advise" and "advice." I mentioned that I'd written about that one, I thought more than once. She asked me to do it again, because the misuse