Some Companies Can’t Spell Correctly Even With The Right Spelling In Front Of Them

Some Companies Can’t Spell Correctly Even With The Right Spelling In Front Of Them

I apologise: I know it was only a fortnight ago that I was complaining about how its and it’s are constantly being misused. But this example is particularly offensive.

In the screenshot above, check the last two survey options. The first, “It’s really easy to book with this airline”, correctly uses it’s as the abbreviated form of it is. Yet the very next line reverts to using its in the sentence “I have to fly with them, its company policy”, where once again it’s would be the correct form.

The ultimate insult? The survey is from Qantas, which was also responsible for our previous example. I know times are tough in aviation, but hire some proofreaders, people! Apostrophes are important. Accuracy matters.

Incidentally, the ticked option also contains a grammatical error: it should read “I am a member of its loyalty program”, since we’re talking about a single airline. And “check-in” should be hyphenated.

Lifehacker’s Mind Your Language column offers bossy advice on improving your writing.


  • Also:
    It has great in-flight experience
    Should read: “It has a great in-flight experience” or “It has great in-flight experiences.”

    And the last one should have a semicolon rather than a comma

  • I think it could be argued that there is only a mistake made when the actual meaning of the message is incorrectly conveyed. The truth Angus is that you knew exactly what the author meant.

    Surely the primary goal of writing is to relay the author’s intended meaning? If so then job done.

    • I would argue that approach makes a mockery of the meaning of “mistake”, and ignored the importance of clarity and professionalism.

    • Making such a mistake, even if the meaning can still be determined, reflects badly on the author and the employer. It suggest that the author is not well educated, or is lazy, or there is no quality assurance process in place, or some other problems within the company.

      If Qantas can’t get the spelling right, what else can’t they get right? It doesn’t inspire confidence, does it?

    • Erm yes, but I also ‘mentally trip’ over grammatical flaws. At times, use of the wrong grammar has left me scratching my head as to the author’s intended meaning. Grammar is used to construct a proper sentence so that meaning can be accurately conveyed. I also do judge companies if they can’t use their big bucks (or be bothered) to show a professional presence. To me it shows lack of care. So will they extend that lack of care to their customers? It does leave me wondering …

  • Some people might think that these are pedantic quibbles…and maybe they are…but if an airline can’t get its grammar right, what else can’t it get right? What if its maintenance manuals contain simple grammatical errors that mean the workers follow the manual and very carefully do the wrong thing? What if the pilot has a manual that followed, puts us in the drink…the list is never ending. The end result of bad grammar might be a whole lot worse than just words.

  • Just took delivery of a new ASUS router. Before I’d even unwrapped it, I could see the large lettered misspelling “versatillity” through the bubble wrap.

  • I’ve had students in my class spell the same word incorrectly 3 times in 3 different ways in the same paragraph answer, even with the correctly spelt word in the question in front of them… The just don’t give a damm…

  • Singular “their” has been acceptable for a couple of hundred years, but it would have been nice for their list to be internally consistent at least.

    • Singular “their” has only been acceptable for about the last 30 years.

      Prior to those pesky feminists, the acceptable word was “his”.

      Their (singular) is acceptable because nobody wants to see “his or her” in the middle of a sentence.

      • Um, no… not quite.

        Since QANTAS is a commercial entity, not a person, you can’t say “his loyalty program”.

      • Singular they/their was actually perfectly acceptable until the end of the 19th Century.
        From Chaucer and Caxton to Thackeray and Austen, Byron and Defoe.

  • Henry Higgins: Look at her, a prisoner of the gutter,
    Condemned by every syllable she utters
    By right she should be taken out and hung,
    For the cold-blooded murder of the English tongue.
    — My Fair Lady

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