Casting a spell: The top three grammatical errors

Progressing in hospitality careers can be a tricky business at the best of times, let alone if your CV has glaringly obvious spelling and grammatical errors. Your CV or cover letter might feature a wealth of experience and qualifications, but it may just end up in the bin if it comes across that you do not know your commas from your apostrophes. You may not think that a hotel job will require a lot of writing, but you should never compromise your spelling or grammar skills.

The atrocious apostrophe

The apostrophe is probably the most misused punctuation mark, causing you to come across looking foolish. The worst case of this is mistaking 'your' for 'you're. This is so bad that there is even a Facebook group called 'If you don’t know the difference between 'your' and 'you're', you deserve to die'. Harsh? Probably. But you do not want to be making such mistakes.

Always remember, if you are using an apostrophe, you are contracting so 'you're' will mean the same as 'you are', rather than the belonging 'your'. Even if you are using the spell checker on your PC, it may miss this error, so be careful.

Another common mistake is 'its' and 'it's', but you should always replace 'its' with his or hers to see if your phrase will still make sense. 'It's' on the other hand is a simple contraction of 'it is'.

The final tip to make is that you should never use an apostrophe before an 'S' if you are using a plural, even if you are talking about 'DVDs' or the '1940s'.

Incorrect: If your going there, its not right.

Correct: If you're going there, it's right.

They all sound the same!

When words all sound the same, things can get confusing. 'Accept' and 'except' often get swapped around, but the main culprit here is 'their', 'they're' and 'there'. Like the apostrophes, 'they're' is a contraction so only use this when you want to say 'they are'. 'There' will be used when talking about locations and 'their' is possessive. A correct phrase would be: 'Where are their applications? They're over there.'

When typing quickly you may also adopt an extra 'O' in 'lose'. Remember, 'lose' is a verb and 'loose' is an adjective.  

You and yourself alone

Always use the word 'you' if you can. If you are adopting 'yourself' when you could simply say 'you', you may come across as if you are sounding too hard to be clever. You can do something for 'yourself' but nothing else.

Even if you are a writing aficionado, these mistakes can always happen and that is why you should always proofread a CV and cover letter at least three times. It will also give you a perfect opportunity to actually read what you have written. Leave it overnight and then get back to it, or give it to someone else to fully read it before you send it on.

Be sure to put a spell on your employers, not send them in a dizzy of pure nonsense.

Berkeley Scott provides specialist advice and support to help you with hospitality careers.