Personally, I’m not a grammar Nazi. Well actually, I am a bit of stickler…
But I’m more in the descriptivist camp rather than on the prescriptionist side of things. What I mean is that I’m more interested in what people actually say and do rather than what some stupid rule says. Latin grammar rules just don’t work that well for English. Not these days anyway (Whoops… sentence fragment).
Anyway, I cannot stand seeing bad grammar and poor spelling in a couple of areas that I consider to be “high stakes”. These are:
- Job applications
- CVs and resumes
- Academic essays and reports
- Newspaper articles
Typos I can forgive. I make typos… In fact, I’m getting worse thanks to predictive texting on my iPhone. Kids are excused too. Some adults I guess as well… Also, this doesn’t apply to people with dyslexia, ESOL learners, or if you have other extenuating circumstances.
Now, all caveats aside, this guy won’t even look at your CV if he finds poor grammar. I can sympathize. In fact, this sentiment makes me feel all warm inside… I don’t mean to be a jerk, but he’s right on a lot of levels.
Here’s a summary below. These are my reasons why you need to get it right, and why you need to teach other people to spell and use correct grammar. Even if you’re American.
- Grammar mistakes make you look stupid.
- Poor grammar won’t get you killed but it might get you passed over for a promotion or a job.
- You might have to answer grammar questions as part of a literacy assessment when you apply for a job.
- It’s pretty hard to make a living without doing some kind of writing.
- The internet including blog posts, emails, websites, status updates on Facebook, tweets etc actually make grammar more important.
- Your words are a projection of you. You’re not there, but your crappy grammar is. Or the reverse.
- People judge you if you can’t tell the difference between words that sound the same but have different spellings and meanings.
- Good grammar makes good business sense.
- Good grammar correlates with job performance, creativity, and intelligence. Woah… That’s a big call. But I think he’s right. It’s OK, I didn’t have many friends before anyway.
- People who can write well, can do lots of other things well. Like write great computer code and run businesses. Bob Jones comments on this every couple of years. He typically hires BAs rather than business graduates.
- People who think writing is important care about details. And the devil’s in the details.
- People who are about writing tend to care about other things too.
So there you go. Grammatical stickler-ness totally justified… G is for Grammar Nazi. Please make a note of all my mistakes in the comments below.