Friday, September 4, 2009


Hello everybody,

There’s something happening in our industry that has been boiling under for the past decade or so, and every so often it raises its ugly head. In the past week, it's raised its head and shoulders too.

In many places on the internet I’m seeing posts from a certain rival virtual association organization. I have two problems with that:

1) They are telling blatant lies, particularly that they are the first VA membership organization – of course, they are not.
2) The grammar being used in these internet posts is terrible, and to me that flies in the face of what they say they are trying to achieve, and of what I know TAVASA is trying to achieve – proper standards in our industry.

I’m going to quote a forum post of theirs, which I have just come across, with every error highlighted and below I shall put comments:

They wrote: “Aaron, you are quite right. Virtual Assistants are not bound by geographical boundaries and can do work from any location for their clients based anywhere in the world. Although Virtual Assistance is one of the fastest growing industries worldwide, it is a fairly new concept in South Africa. Very few people here knows about (1) the term much less about what VA's (2) actually do.

Our organisation focus on "education/spreading the word" (3) in South Africa about virtual assistance and the benefits that it can have to clients as well as prospecting (4) VA's (2). We basically (5)
- assist people in SA who wants (6) to enter the VA industry with the necessary information on how to start their own VA business and also support existing VA's (2).

- have a database of professional SA VA's (2). Thus if someone wants to make use of a SA VA we provide a RFP service and assist them to find a suitable VA. Since VA'(2)s in SA pricing/rates (3) are not yet as expensive as VA's (2) from overseas , we receive quite a number of international requests for VA's(2).

Virtual Assistance in SA(although in its infancy) (7)is an open, growing field as more and more people with administrative experienced(8) are looking for alternative opportunities and businesses realise that outsourcing is actually a good business strategy .

Well, to make this long story short , our main focus are really (9)to build the VA industry in South Africa.”


(1) Incorrect usage of plural – should read: “Very few people here know about …”
(2) Incorrect usage of apostrophe – an apostrophe denotes either possession or contraction. Neither is the case here. Should read: “VAs”
(3) Incorrect usage of the backslash – should read: “education / spreading the word”
(4) Incorrect usage of verb – “prospecting” refers to something one does on the mines. I assume what should have been used here is “prospective”
(5) Omission of colon – should read “We basically:”
(6) Incorrect conjugation – should read “who want”
(7) Omission of space – should read “SA (although”
(8) Incorrect tense – should be present tense and read “experience are”
(9) Incorrect conjugation – should read “our main focus is really” …

9 basic errors repeated over and over again in a short forum post – my mind boggles when I think of the fact that this organization charges VAs in South Africa to be members, when they can’t write a simple forum post grammatically. You are going to tell me that they are not native English speakers. Shame. Errors like this may be acceptable in letters or emails to friends. When they are put on a public forum, and the people posting state that they are representing the virtual industry, it’s not on. We’re professionals and we have to write accordingly.

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