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Adii Pienaar

Now working on Receiptful. Co-Founder & ex-CEO of WooThemes. Author of Brandiing. New Dad. Ex-Rockstar.

In English

I've been doing a few pre-sales & account-related customer e-mails in the last couple of days & the one thing that still surprises me is the quality (or lack thereof) of English that a large percentage of our customers use in their e-mails.

I know that English is not the most spoken language in the world, but 56%-odd of the Internet's content is English and only Chinese users even closely rivals their English counterparts. When I think about this, I'd thus assume that most Internet users would need a better understanding of English to get around the web successfully. This is also reinforced by the fact that English is only my 2nd language, but I've had to refine it over the years to stay relevant online.

What further compounds my surprise though is that I'd expect the WooThemes customers I'm interacting with to have better English. They're at least somewhat-technical and know enough about the Internet to be comfortable with setting up their own hosting space & WordPress installation. (Contrast this to an every day, Chinese internet user who only socializes / reads news online and who I'd thus expect not to have great English.)

From my experience, the lack of quality is also not region-specific; I've seen bad English from customers in South America, Asia & most surprisingly, Europe. Mmm.

Am I just being pedantic? Or have you seen a similar pandemic (word choice on purpose & for added drama) around the web?

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