By Amanda Hendrix-Black, Customer Impact Editor

 ed•i•tor – noun : a person whose job is to edit something; a computer program that is used to create and make changes to data (such as words and pictures).

While some shoppers may think the latter, the editors for Customer Impact are, in fact, real people whose job it is to review, revise, and finalize all of your reports. One of the largest barriers we face is grammar. Now, we can’t all have English degrees with a very strong opinion about the Oxford comma, but we can always push to be better shoppers, better writers, and better communicators, and grammar is the perfect place to start.


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I would like to introduce you to Grammar Girl, aka Mignon Fogarty. Her brilliance can be found under the “Education” tab on She has a plethora of grammar tips, guides, examples, and much more. For some shoppers, Grammar Girl is a gold mine. For others, she may be a bit intimidating. Never fear! I have complied A Mystery Shopper’s Guide to Grammar Girl just for you. This list is a great place to start when refining your mystery shopping comment skills. Each link will lead you to a helpful guide to commas, quotations, and other topics that editors find themselves facing every day.

Why is this important? Better writing leads to better reports, higher shop scores, more assignments, and, ultimately, better service. The more effective you can be in your reports, the more likely your assessments will lead to positive changes in the places you so often find yourself visiting, and who doesn’t like great service?

In the guide you will find why the subject is important to you as a shopper, a link to a relevant article, and a report example and editor’s correction. Here it is!


Commas were, for a long while, the bane of my existence. It took me a long time to finally get the hand of such a versatile little mark, but once I finally got it down, it made a massive impact on my writing. Here are three articles from Grammar Girl on comma usage, and they only scratch the surface. Explore other comma articles from Mignon, and pay attention to her own writing, too. She’s pretty smart.

Commas in a Series –

 Example: Jessica quoted the total took my payment handed me a receipt and thanked me.

Correction: Jessica quoted the total, took my payment, handed me a receipt, and thanked me.

Comma Splices –

Example: Marcus smiled, he made sure we were satisfied.

Correction: Marcus smiled, and he made sure we were satisfied.

Commas with Adjectives – 

Example: The Chicken Tender Platter had hot crispy chicken.

Correction: The Chicken Tender Platter had hot, crispy chicken.



Quotations should be used minimally in mystery shopping reports, but if something was said and needs to be mentioned, you’ll want to make sure it’s clearly communicated. 

Example: Muhammad said “What can I get for you guys”?

Correction: Muhammad said, “What can I get for you guys?”



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Semicolons can typically just be replaced by a period, but, if you find yourself in dire need of a semicolon, you’ll want to at least use it correctly. Right?

Example: Sophia asked if we would like to order drinks; like margaritas or draft beer.

Correction: Sophia asked if we would like to order drinks; she recommended margaritas and draft beer.

Common Mistakes:

Now, Grammar Girl isn’t writing to mystery shoppers directly, but she could have fooled me! This list of common grammatical mistakes is handy whether you’re writing a report, an email, or a text message. 

This is a lot of information, and, of course, it can be intimidating! You can also refer to our Mystery Shopping Report Writing Tips  for some more helpful information. And as always, let us know what makes sense and what doesn’t, and we will be here to help you along the way!



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