We see this writing error from time to time but we’ve seen it THREE TIMES in the past two weeks and that’s kind of a lot. And it’s annoying.
Why is it annoying?
Because it’s so imprecise. As written, the sentence makes a claim that is a logical impossibility.
Here’s one instance we’ve seen:
After I get my MBA, I want to be a strategy consultant in companies such as Bain or McKinsey.
Now, we totally get what this person is saying. But unless they’re talking about separate phases of the future career, they cannot be a consultant in multiple companies. Not simultaneously. And yet, that’s what they have stated.
Here’s another variation (you can see how common strategy consulting is as a post-MBA goal when we have this many examples to share with you so readily):
After I get my MBA, I will be a strategy consultant at a leading management consulting organization such as The Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey & Company, Bain & Company and Accenture Consulting.
So what’s the problem with that one? It’s the same problem, actually, just inverted. In this case, it’s an error with the use of the word “and” in the series.
These sentences both have a very basic singular/plural agreement error. They just read wrong.
- If you’re using the word “or” in your “such as” series, then the noun needs to be singular.
- If you’re using “and” then your noun needs to be plural – however we don’t know how you intend to work at multiple companies simultaneously.
When you’re pitching the adcom, you need to be polished and professional – and precise. Not only are these examples of sloppy writing, but they also make the brain twist up in knots (yes that’s painful).
When we read something like that, we get to the end of the sentence and go screeeeeeech!! with the brakes. Hold up! Something’s wrong here! says the brain. We have to go back to the beginning and read the durn sentence over again. And then we’re like, Oh. Right. Grammar.
It’s not like we didn’t get what the person was saying. That part is clear. Strategy consulting – check. McKinsey or Bain – check. But the problem is that it comes across like nails on a chalkboard when the words used to express this simple idea are laid out on the page with blatant lack of attention to the rules of communication. It’s a problem with detail.
And yet… these people claim that they’re high caliber consulting material. Like, McKinsey quality and stuff.
Grammar errors are almost always small – in this case, just the word “and” is the culprit. It can easily seem inconsequential, but believe us when we say, it is not inconsequential when it comes to your apps.
Despite what you may think when you grace us with your prose, reading essays is not a lot of fun. Reading essays with writing errors can borderline on rather awful.
It’s like opening the front door to greet your dinner guests with a smile – and before you can even say “Hello!”, out wafts the stench of your last week’s gym socks to bop ’em in the nose. It’s like Whoa! That’ll bring you back to your senses! It’s not some major sin- but it affects the reader’s experience of how you think and what you’re saying.
Writing, people. It’s who you are, just in a different form.
Don’t make your reader hold her nose when she reads your essays.