“PSGS offered the right support at very short notice, at reasonable cost, when we really needed it”
“Gillian and Curtis provide an excellent service to the trustees. They are approachable and possess a huge amount of knowledge. Everything appears to work smoothly which I am sure is due to the immense amount of work they do in the background to ensure all paperwork is available and up to date.”
“They are very proactive and full of new ideas, they've brought better scheduling and better minute sets.”
“PSGS have provided sound and professional advice through a number of difficult pension decisions – would thoroughly recommend.”
“In my experience, not all professional trustees are able to cope with tricky or potentially confrontational situations. I find PSGS has massive experience in getting involved, earning the respect of others and resolving such issues. They get stuck in – they are a first rate team.”
“Gillian goes above and beyond, she is very responsive to the whole team and delivers outstanding work. ”
Top tips for pensions communications often suggest using a mix of media and varying design layouts as different people respond to different things in different ways (or not at all). ‘Tailor your message’ is another frequent (and quite correct) one that hints at the use of language. Something we don’t hear about much is grammar and spelling and how this has changed across generations.
A dependent dependant
My colleague, Gillian Graham, got me thinking about this again recently. She’d (or would you prefer ‘she had’?) felt a bit of a grumpy old woman (her words) when she found herself irritated reading a pensions article where the author had fallen into the common trap of spelling dependant incorrectly. When referring to the noun, it is a dependant of a member and a dependant’s pension. If using the adjective, it is a dependent spouse or a person who is dependent on someone else.
Is she right? Well, yes and no. Yes, because that’s exactly what traditional British English grammar tells us. No, because using ‘dependent’ as a noun has become accepted practice (see Lexico) and ‘dependant’ doesn’t exist in American English, which has become a big influence on our language culture.
What I’m Saying Is Important
My personal bugbear is the spurious use of capital letters. Intentionally typing that sub-heading has made me feel queasy. It seems, as time has gone on, it has become acceptable to capitalise almost anything. It is very important, so I must use capitals. It is or might be a name, so I must use capitals. (There is a difference between a noun and a proper noun.) It’s a title, so I must use capitals. (Why on earth would you capitalise a connecting word?) Don’t get me started…
Split infinitive’s (yes, I know, read on…)
Generalising somewhat, it feels the misuse of apostrophes is perfectly fine with those from generations younger than mine. Particularly when it comes to plurals. It winds me up, as it does many from an older generation that tends to include pension trustees and scheme pensioners.
Several years ago, an older colleague reviewed something I had drafted. He pulled me up on a split infinitive (‘to boldly go’ being the most famous). Marked by traditional English grammatical standards, he was right. Putting the modern context hat on, I was. I pointed him to a University of Bristol’s Faculty of Arts resource:
“Split infinitives have, traditionally, been regarded by some commentators as anathema, something to be avoided at all costs. There is no rational basis for this rule; splitting infinitives is commonplace in spoken language, and even in written English it may be clearer or more elegant to do so.”
He gallantly accepted my argument, but it really does highlight generational differences. For older generations, traditional spelling, grammar and punctuation really matter. For many of the younger generation they don’t. That’s something worth remembering when you’re creating pension communications.
What about me in the middle? Well, I once felt comfortable with modern language and grammar, but I’m now also starting to feel a bit of a grumpy old woman as things move on again! I’d love to hear your thoughts.
*delete as applicable
PS The grammar and punctuation in the above blog will, almost certainly, be technically incorrect somewhere. I’m perfectly comfortable with this. I sincerely hope there are no spelling mistakes though!
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