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Get a grip on your grammar!

The importance of using correct grammar in your CV really can’t be underestimated. Most employers view it as a basic necessity. A CV littered with grammatical errors is likely to distract the reader from your achievements and in the worst cases may result in it going straight on the reject pile. This month, I’ve selected a couple of items that people are often uncertain about:

  • ‘among’ vs ‘amongst’
  • compound adjectives (e.g ‘two-seater aircraft’ vs ‘two seater aircraft’)

 

Among vs Amongst

The prepositions’ ‘among’ and ‘amongst’ both mean amidst, surrounded by or in the company of. They can be used interchangeably in the UK, but in the US ‘amongst’ is likely to be seen as incorrect in a formal document. The use of ‘among’ rather than ‘amongst’ in US English is probably one of the reasons why people sometimes struggle with this one, since we’re becoming less used to seeing ‘amongst’ used in print and online.

Compound adjectives

Well, this is a real return to school days, but actually quite a useful one to be clear on. Often when reviewing CVs, I see references to ‘part time work’, ’10 person team’, or ‘600 page document’. To be grammatically correct, all of these should have hyphens, since you are using a compound adjective (an adjective of more than one word) to describe something i.e. part-time work, 10-person team, 600-page document.

It’s a bit pernickety, but getting this right marks you out as someone who knows their grammar and has a high degree of attention to detail. It can also help with your reader’s understanding of what you’re trying to say – compare “man-eating shark” to “man eating shark”, the first refers to a shark that eats men, the second to a man tucking into a shark steak for dinner!

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