It's Important to Get Your Value Proposition Right (I'm Looking at You, Walmart)

From the "History and Mission" webpage: is a lot like your neighborhood Walmart store. We feature a great selection of high-quality merchandise, friendly service and, of course, Every Day Low Prices. We also have another goal: to bring you the best shopping experience on the Internet. 

Did you spot the error? It's particularly egregious with the gratuitous capitalization.

Walmart intends to say that it offers low prices as a matter of course, but it fails to achieve that goal. It should be "everyday low prices," not "every day." (Alternatively, it could read "low prices every day.") "Everyday" is an adjective that means typical or routine. "Every" is an adjective and "day" is a noun, and that phrase means that something happens on each and every day of the week. 

Now, here's where it must get tricky for the writers at When I searched for, two sponsored ads appeared with these meta descriptions:

Example 1: We Offer Low Prices on Everything, Everyday. Come See for Yourself!"

Example 2: Today, we're still committed to bringing you great products at our Every Day Low Prices, whether you're shopping in your store or at

In example 1, Walmart wants to tell us that it offers low prices every day of the year. "Everyday" does not make sense in this context; it should be "Every Day." Example 2 is the same error as above.

A Google search of the site for the exact phrase "every day low prices" shows 415,000 hits. That's a lot of mistakes. Maybe when you buy in bulk, you make mistakes in bulk? Interestingly, even Google knew this was a bad construction and suggested that perhaps I meant "everyday low prices." When I followed Google's recommendation and searched for the correct phrase on, I got 39,300 hits. An error margin of 10 percent seems pretty significant to me. 

Now, I'm sure this mistake isn't hurting Walmart's business--after all, it is Walmart. I'm also sure that 90% of people haven't noticed this error. But to me, it seems silly that this corporate behemoth can't get its key value proposition correct every single time.

But for those who do notice, do errors like these make you wonder about Walmart's dedication to accuracy? Should it make you question the accuracy of claims and prices on (If you're not aware of pricing discrepancies at Walmart, you might want to do some research on its compliance with pricing law.)

For smaller companies, mistakes like these carry higher stakes. Similar errors might call a company's professionalism, accuracy, and integrity into question. Don't be like Walmart.

A Verb Is a Verb Is a Verb

Two words that pepper our day-to-day conversation are the linking verbs "is" and "are." (Note that "is" ranks 7 and "are" ranks 15 in the list of the 100 most frequently used words. "The" ranks first, followed by "of," "and," and "a.")

Given the importance of these words to our lexicon, I'm constantly amazed at the pushback I get from clients who apparently were taught in elementary school that these words are too small to deserve capitalizing in headings, subheadings, and titles (when not in sentence case). It's time to let it go. 

The length rule applies only to less important words, such as conjunctions and prepositions. Moreover, if you're going to use length as the basis of your argument, then we'd never capitalize verbs like "run" and "eat."

I'm not standing alone on my soapbox: for example, the Chicago Manual and AP Stylebook agree.

So, the next time you're typing a title or heading, please think twice before discriminating against the poor, defenseless (yet critically important) linking verbs. 

You--Yes You--Need a Copyeditor or Proofreader!

You're a good writer. Maybe other people find your writing so strong that they ask you for help with their writing. Maybe you can spot a typo at twenty paces.

Or maybe you feel confident in knowing that your word processor's spellcheck function is backing you up. After all, it checks grammar too, right?

Think again! Everyone needs a copyeditor or a proofreader. After we review the same text time and time again, it's difficult for our minds to pick up errors. In fact, the mind fills in what we expect to see and want to have in our text, so missing or juxtaposed letters and words don't stand out to us.

Moreover, we all have our grammatical and style glitches. Another reader can help us seek out and destroy these blind spots, and that reader isn't your word processor. Typically, my spell and grammar check adds more problems than it resolves. It wants to add and detract commas everywhere and capitalize too many words. Don't even get me started on how it responds when I try to use a colon or semicolon.

Don't believe me? Think your writing is perfect? Send me a paragraph of your writing. I'll mark it up at no cost or obligation to you.