grammar matters

Grammar Matters: Bring vs. Take


As a marketing agency, we write a lot of copy, so we end up talking a lot about grammar. As a result, we’ve got a lot of agency sayings on the topic.

Our strategists’ favorite is: “Grammar is not an opinion.”
Our designers’ favorite is: “But there is such thing as Advertising Grammar.”
Our grammarian’s favorite is: “You can’t break the [grammar] rules until you know the rules!”

Today, on our mission to help folks with common grammar issues, we’re addressing two words that are often mixed up.

ISSUE: Bring vs. Take
The problem is that many people use bring and take indiscriminately. Both words describe the movement of something from one location to another. However, each has its proper usage depending on your point of reference. You ask people to bring things to wherever you are. You take things to where you are going.

I ask people to bring me coffee.
You tell people they can bring their dog to work.
But you take your dog to work.
We take comps to the client.

QUICK TIP: You bring things here and take things there.

Did this post take you out of your comfort zone? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Keep our Quick Tip handy and keep practicing!

Grammar Matters: Graduated College vs. Graduated From College


This one is for our in-house grammarian who gets exceptionally passionate when she hears the incorrect phrase “graduated college.”

As our summer intern returns to school for her senior year and will be graduating (we expect) in May, it seems an apropos time to address this common grammar mistake.


ISSUE: Is it “graduated college” or “graduated from college?”

The correct use is to include the “from.” Why so many people choose to leave it out, we’re not sure. Here’s the boring grammar-speak reason why leaving out the from is incorrect.

When you say someone graduated college, you are turning “to graduate” into a transitive verb. Graduating is something a school does to a student, not something a student does to a school. If you say, “Kim graduated Penn State,” Kim is the subject and Penn State is the object. In that case, you are saying Kim did something to Penn State, not the other way around. What you really mean to do is use the intransitive form of “to graduate” because the verb has no object. Therefore you need a preposition – in this case “from.”


EXAMPLES: Looking at other intransitive verb examples might help:

“to sit” – you wouldn’t say, “I sat the chair.” It’s “I sat on the chair.” [using the preposition on]

“to sleep” – you wouldn’t say, “MJ slept her bed.” It’s “MJ slept in her bed.” [using the preposition in]

“to laugh” – you wouldn’t say, “Todd laughed joke.” It’s “Todd laughed at the joke.” [using the preposition at]


QUICK TIP: It’s simple…say “graduated from!”

If you’re in the habit of leaving out the preposition “from” with graduated, catch yourself when you say it incorrectly and correct it. It might take a few catches, but eventually you’ll remember.

When you do, you’ll make your junior high school teacher proud. :)

Grammar Matters: Complimentary vs. Complementary


Today’s Grammar Matters blog focuses on when to use “complimentary” versus “complementary.”

ISSUE: Do I spell it with an “i” or an “e?”

When writing promotional copy, we are often faced with finding more upscale ways of communicating when something is “free.” A go-to option is “complimentary.” The tricky thing is that spell check won’t nudge you if you replace the i with an e because both are correct spellings but have different meanings.

Complimentary with an i is used when something is free or when you give someone a compliment.

Complement with an e means something that completes something else as when two things go well together.



Complimentary: 1. Receive a complimentary bottle of wine when you purchase two others. 2. He was so complimentary about her shoes that it almost seemed sarcastic.

Complementary: 1. Complementary colors are pairs of colors which when combined cancel each other out.


QUICK TIP: Remember that complementary has its root in the word complete. If you’re looking to express how something completes something else, use the spelling with an e!

Grammar tips compliments of BrandTuitive! :)

Grammar Matters: Plural Possessive


It amazes us every time we find advertising with simple grammar errors. It usually triggers a saying we’re fond of around the agency, “Grammar is not an opinion.” Today’s Grammar Matters blog focuses on plural possessive.

ISSUE: Where to put the apostrophe?

We often see an apostrophe misplaced when something is “plural possessive,” meaning when a noun is more than one (plural) and “owns” something (possessive). When it is plural possessive, the apostrophe belongs after the “s.” For example, the “boys’ toys” means the toys belong to more than one boy. (If the toys belonged to only one boy, the apostrophe would be placed before the “s” – the “boy’s toys.”)

EXAMPLES: the bartenders’ tips (more than one bartender who “own” the tips), the dogs’ bowl (more than one dog sharing one bowl), a teachers’ conference (multiple teachers – probably discussing proper grammar)

EXCEPTION: If the plural noun does not end in “s,” then the possessive is indicated with an apostrophe and an “s.” For example, “Where is the women’s room?”

QUICK TIP: Ask yourself 2 questions: 1) “Are there more than one of these?” and 2) “Do they own something?” If the answer is yes to both questions, it’s plural possessive; and the apostrophe belongs after the “s.”

We hope this agency’s tip relieves clients’ concerns about reviewing their marketing agencies’ copy. #showlovetotheapostrophe

Grammar Matters: Fewer vs. Less


As a branding agency, we are super passionate about the spoken and written word. We know that one word or comma can change the meaning and the emotion felt by the reader or can just plain be incorrect. With that passion in mind, we’re debuting a blog series that focuses on a few common grammar missteps and corresponding tips to help get them right.

ISSUE: Fewer vs. Less

Many times we’ve seen the word “less” used when the word “fewer” should have been used. Luckily, the rule for this one is pretty easy. You use “fewer” when you can count what you’re comparing. “Less” should be used when you can’t count what you’re comparing. For example, you would say, “I want fewer glasses of water” or “I want less water.”

EXAMPLES: fewer dollars vs less money; fewer hours vs less time; fewer sandwiches vs less food

QUICK TIP: Think, “Can I count what I’m describing?” If yes, use fewer.

You might be surprised how often a fewer/less challenge comes up. We hope this post helps you make fewer mistakes so you can feel less insecure about your grammar skills. :)