Does Grammar Really Matter on Your iPhone?

by • July 23, 2013

“Sent from my iPhone” are four little words that, when grouped together, mean: “Friend, please ignore my short response, along with any grammatical or spelling errors found within this email. These errors are the fault of my fancy phone, and not mine.”

Lifehacker recently posed the question: Are “Sent from my iPhone” signatures useful or annoying?

A study in the Journal of Applied Communication Research would suggest that smartphone users may have a little leeway for mobile emails – as long as you include that “sent from” phrase at the conclusion of your message. The study surveyed 111 undergraduate students that were divided into four groups. Each group evaluated an email and was asked to rate the level of credibility of the sender.

The emails judged the most credible were those that appeared to be sent from a computer, contained no grammatical errors, and included a professional signature. However, emails that included several grammatical errors, as well as the phrase “Sent from my iPhone” at the bottom, also retained a high credibility score. Not surprisingly, the lowest credibility score came from emails with numerous grammatical errors but did not include a mobile signature at the bottom.

Even though we seem to be a somewhat forgiving society when it comes to our on-the-go communication, most professionals would agree that the best emails are ones that are able to quickly and effectively relay important messages to readers. In a recent research report by Grammarly, we learned that writing skills are a powerful indicator of a person’s performance at work. Not only do people who care about their writing demonstrate credibility, professionalism, and accuracy in their work, but knowing how to structure a grammatically correct sentence is a sign that you can analyze and explain complex problems.

Here are four writing tips for people who often email via smartphone, yet want to retain their credibility:

  • Create a mobile signature. The results speak for themselves. A “Sent from my iPhone” signature helps email recipients to understand that you may not have the time or the resources to compose the best email of all time – or even a detailed response.
  • Avoid sending emails from your smartphone while you are distracted. If you’re about to check out at the grocery store, or you’re sitting at a red light, it goes without saying that it probably isn’t the best time to focus on cleaning out your inbox.
  • Proofread your email. I am continuously surprised at just how many people don’t re-read what they’ve written. Since mobile emails are typically shorter than emails composed on your desktop, take the opportunity to make sure that you are accurately and concisely getting to the point.
  • Capitalize! Capitalization has not lost its importance because you are on your phone. This may be one of the most obvious grammatical errors we see stemming from email on smartphones, so take a few extra seconds to double tap the up arrow on your phone’s keyboard to make sure the capitalization is used when it’s needed.

The bottom line is pretty simple: The screens on our smartphones are small, and our hands are big. Thankfully, most business professionals understand and are empathetic to this fact . . . to a point. It’s always best to take a few extra seconds to make sure you are communicating the most effective way possible when you are “sending from a mobile device.”

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