News That Means Business

May 10, 2012

Grammar Note: Alls they need to do is drop the ‘s’

Filed under: communication,pr,public relations — Caryl Communications @ 4:41 pm
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In a world dominated by texting, casual emails and social media, good grammar is not always the highest priority. But in working with media we need to respect good grammar, verbally, and of course, in writing. Because the better something is written, the better chance the writer has of seeing it published, somewhere.

Speaking to media also calls for good grammar and usage. So here’s a simple tip about a common verbal usage mistake: Alls we need to do is drop the ‘s.’ And that’s the tip.

I was driven to write this when I heard a sportscaster use the word “alls” this morning in speaking about yesterday’s NBA results. The “s” was soft and subtle, but it was there. Most listeners probably didn’t even hear it, but since good PR is built on good writing, it jumped out at me.

In fact, I hear it often. Some of the most educated people use it commonly in speaking. But you never see it in print. Unless it’s a contraction as William Shakespeare used it in his comedy All’s Well That Ends Well. Coincidentally, I also heard a broadcaster say this today while I was writing this blog. She said: “All’s good.” These two words demonstrate proper usage in a full sentence and are totally correct.

An interesting footnote: when I wrote “alls” for the first time ever, in this post, my grammar check in Microsoft Word didn’t pick it up. So I looked in Merriam Webster’s dictionary and in Word Central. There were no entries.

“Alls” is, however, in the Urban Dictionary. It is listed as “the coolest way to say all.”

I realize I don’t necessarily embody “cool,” and I also know when the next generation of texters and Facebook users are in the business world, grammar concerns will likely be considered archaic. But in the field of public relations, today, we need to practice good grammar every day.

So enough writing about this non-word, and hopefully, I don’t sound pompous. All I want to do is help!

Watch for more common writing and grammar errors in future posts.

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