What is wrong with this sentence?

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

This message from my morning email makes the case for thinking before you write – and Please read what you wrote before you sendfor proofreading after you do.

This is an invitation to a grand opening. I’m not exactly sure what visitors would find if they attended, because the picture was too small to read most of the print.

“We would like to invite past and feature clients, business partners, and current employees with families.”

So – what is wrong with it?

First, it was distributed to people who are not “past or feature clients, business partners, or current employees with families."

Why send an announcement to someone who isn’t invited? Seems a bit rude to me.

You might assume that since they sent it to every connection they had on social media, they wanted to invite everyone. But that’s not what they said.

Second is one of my pet peeves, but something people all over the world do every day both in print and in spoken words: “We would like to invite.” My immediate reaction to that and to “I would like to thank…” is “Then just do it! What is holding you back?”

Third – what the heck is a feature client? I’m sure Gwen Banta could come up with something witty to go with that one.

And finally, why are they only inviting current employees with families? What about employees who are single. Or, does almost everyone qualify because almost everyone has some kind of family. So only orphans and those who are truly alone are excluded?

Yes, I know. That isn’t what they meant. They probably meant that all of those people are invited and that they’re welcome to bring their families along. But that’s not what they said.

The bottom line: Before you send a message out into the world, read what you wrote.

Instead of thinking about what you meant, look at what you said. If possible, hand it to a Read what you wrote! willing critic and ask them what it says.

And then, for the sake of not looking foolish, proofread and look at the actual words you used. You don’t want the take-away from your message to be people wondering what a “feature client” might be.

 

Laptop Image courtesy of punsayaporn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Signpost courtesy of stuart miles at freedigitalphotos.net

 

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Rainer
238,194
Greg Mona
eXp Realty - Chandler, AZ
Professional Real Estate Representation for YOU!

Hi Marte Cliff . That example you shared with us consists of only 16 words, yet it leaves you with more questions than answers and has one big old typo to boot. It is safe to say nobody proofread that little blurb (at least let's HOPE not!). As I saw in a previous response to this post, it does seem like there are more and more typos and poorly written copy lately than in the past. And good Lord, have you checked out any posts on Facebook lately?! If their policy was your post would automatically be removed for poor grammar and/or typographic errors, there would be very few posts! It is a great illustration of how illiterate our society has become. Anyway, I digress...

Jul 11, 2019 05:13 PM #56
Ambassador
3,697,932
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Oh my goodness, we rip to shreds emails, identically, Marte! I think the worst is the 'employees with families' - what is someone just returned to work who had just lost their spouse? 

Jul 11, 2019 08:57 PM #57
Rainmaker
1,608,860
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Greg Mona Once when one of my sons was in 2nd grade I filled in for the teacher while she went to a  funeral. When she got back she had the kids do show and tell, and one little boy got up to tell about something he and his brother had done. He started off with "Me and my brother..."

Later I asked why she hadn't corrected his grammar. Her reason was that if she corrected the students' grammar it would insult their parents.

Do we need to wonder why illiteracy is growing?

Jul 11, 2019 09:11 PM #58
Rainmaker
1,608,860
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

All that ripping is kinda fun, isn't it Debe Maxwell, CRS? I thought "employees with families" was awful too - even though I doubt that it's what they meant. I think they intended to invite everyone and wanted them to know they were welcome to bring their families along. It's just not what they said. 

Did you notice that they failed to include current clients? They only invited past and "feature" clients.

Jul 11, 2019 09:14 PM #59
Rainmaker
574,701
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

I can see why that phrase is a pet peeve of yours!  It really doesn't make sense.  Wondering if a 'professional marketing firm' wrote that poorly worded copy?

Jul 12, 2019 03:14 PM #60
Rainmaker
1,608,860
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR Oh - I hope that wasn't written by someone claiming to be a professional. You never know, though. I get marketing email from companies overseas whose writers clearly haven't begun to master our language.

Jul 12, 2019 03:22 PM #61
Ambassador
2,026,374
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Oh my, this is a sloppy one, isn't it? The English language is quite a conundrum for many. 

Jul 13, 2019 10:43 AM #62
Rainmaker
1,608,860
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD Yes, it certainly is.

Jul 13, 2019 11:01 AM #63
Rainmaker
1,011,897
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Wow!  That's a zinger!  Not only did they mess up an invitation, they probably offended a few folks!

Jul 13, 2019 06:42 PM #64
Rainmaker
1,608,860
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Jan Green If people stop to think about what that invitation says, then yes. They would have offended a few folks.

Jul 13, 2019 09:24 PM #65
Rainer
500,326
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Obviously, the agent and their mentor were not communicating. Furthermore, whatever brand the agent is affiliated with is being destroyed and it appears that the leader of the brand must be asleep at the wheel. 

Jul 16, 2019 08:08 PM #66
Rainmaker
1,608,860
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Kimo Jarrett - I had the feeling that the writer WAS the boss there. I could be wrong, but it was an invitation to a new office opening.

Jul 16, 2019 08:21 PM #67
Rainmaker
1,882,241
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

When you want to feature an event in the future you invite the past clients before they pass on or get passed up.

Just sayin'...

The sentence in the invitation was brilliant.

Says he, with a wink.  I hear radio ads that use bad grammar; TV "hosts" who "read" the news from a prompter that was written by a high school drop out; ads in the mail with missspelllings; hear ESPN talk show hosts who cannot formulate a sentence without  "you know" and "like" 30 times in 50 words.  It's pathetic.  

So here we are.  I think what we are now experiencing features the future.  Editors simply are not editors.

Jul 17, 2019 03:52 PM #68
Rainmaker
1,608,860
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I agree Jay Markanich - and I think it's a bit spooky. Since we use language to communicate, will communication go down the drain?

I also wish people could get away from "you know" and "like." I have a couple of clients who not only use "like" in speech, but in email messages.

When that trend first started it was with the kids, and I had an agent with a 7th grade daughter. The agent picked up the habit quickly. She got mad at me one day after she hung up the phone and I asked her what she was referring to when she said a house had "like a fireplace." What was it if it was not a fireplace, but like a fireplace?

 

Jul 17, 2019 04:07 PM #69
Rainmaker
1,882,241
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Like got started because of Maynard G. Krebs on the Dobie Gillis Show.  His character was so popular they gave the actor, Bob Denver, his own show a couple of years later - Gilligan's Island.  Um, I mean, like, you know, right?

Jul 18, 2019 02:26 AM #70
Rainmaker
1,608,860
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Jay Markanich I didn't know that - and didn't know that the use started that early. I didn't really become aware of it until the late 90's.

I've often said that our little town / area is always 20 years behind the times. Perhaps this is yet another example of that.

Jul 18, 2019 09:17 AM #71
Rainer
29,660
Debbie Krieger
John L. Scott Real Estate / Yakima - Yakima, WA
A Passion for Excellence

I love your SECOND comment- The writer wrote "We would like to invite..."  because he or she thought it sounded more professional than "inviting" the desired guests. 

I often proof read paperwork or resumes for friends and associates. The mistakes that I see the most are words that simple spell check programs don't catch -(bear or bare, two or too or to, here or hear). Am I the only one that is sad that people don't remember how to spell?

Jul 18, 2019 03:00 PM #72
Rainmaker
1,608,860
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Debbie Krieger I think wanting to sound more professional is also the reason why so many people misuse the word "myself." I really cringe when I read something like "Please call myself or John if you have questions."

I'm with you on being sad that spelling seems to be a forgotten art. I wish people realized how it makes a reader stop, look twice, and lose the train of thought when they come across a word that clearly doesn't belong in the context of the sentence.

We really do all need to proofread, even when we know how to spell. A couple of times in the last few months I've proofread my copy and realized I had written the wrong form of "there."

It's shocking. "Where did THAT come from?"

Jul 18, 2019 03:20 PM #73
Rainmaker
1,882,241
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Once my friend and I were playing and his mother called him for dinner.  She said, "Brian!"  And he answered, "Like, yeah, mom."  She came back loudly, "Don't you talk to me like that Maynard G. Krebs or I'll smack your mouth!  Get home now!"  This is 1962 or 63.

Nuff said.

Jul 19, 2019 04:29 AM #74
Rainmaker
1,608,860
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Jay Markanich Good for Brian's Mom! Too bad more didn't follow her example.

Jul 19, 2019 07:30 AM #75
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