I guess it makes sense that our current culture would refer to these grammar gurus in the negative. After all, we live in a high tech, speed of light, word counting world, and these detail crazies are annoying. We don't have time to write out the whole words. And that extra button to capitalize the personal I? Well, it can be a personal pain that interrupts the texting flow. Numbers have started to find their way into our words: l8r, m8, let's go sk8ing, for the sake of time and a strange sort of cleverness I don't fully understand. As far as capital letters to begin our sentences or put nouns in their "proper place?" (only the true grammar nerds will get that one) That is almost a dead art.
The first piece of writing I ever turned into him was a narrative. I was very proud of that narrative, and was expecting to receive some very encouraging comments of recognition when it was returned. Instead, my paper floated back to me in a river of red ink. I was crushed, and if I am completely honest, I was also indignant and a little bitter.
It stuck. I even wrote it down to remind myself of that. What good, indeed? And furthermore, what if a poorly placed comma or missing semi-colon placed my work in a negative light for an intelligent, syntax-savvy reader? This was a necessary, humbling experience that not only made me a better more effective writer, but it also made me realize how complex the process of creating communication really was...and you know what? It SHOULD be! Communicating effectively deserves our time and close attention! Words are extremely powerful! We have certainly explored that notion this year. But that power is quickly drained in untrained hands. Nathaniel Hawthorne said it best: "Words--so innocent and powerless as they are standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows well how to combine them."
So why should you care? Well, for one, like it or not, the professional world cares. According to an article in Forbes Magazine, (dated March 11, 2013): "....good grammar is a fairly accurate predictor of professional success." Apparently, there are studies to prove it.
1. Professionals with fewer grammar errors in their profiles had achieved higher positions. The profiles of those who'd failed to achieve director-level positions within the first ten years of their careers made almost three times as many grammatical errors as their director level colleagues.
2. Fewer grammar errors correlate with more promotions. Professionals with six to nine promotions made 45% fewer grammatical errors than those who'd been promoted 1-4 times.
In the article, Forbes interviewed iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens, who maintained that grammar skills typically indicate positive workplace traits, including but not limited to attention to detail, critical thinking and intellectual aptitude.
I'll admit, that last so-called sentence I just typed made me cringe. I do not at all profess to be perfect or even nearly so when it comes to English grammar and syntax, but I do strongly believe in its great significance. As you are revising and then editing your essays for me this week, please take the time to consult grammar and syntax resources, such as the classic Elements of Style book that graced many an English major's personal desk-handy library or the newer Purdue Owl online writing reference. It is time very well spent as it makes such a difference in how others perceive you as a communicator! We may be moving from the calligraphy pen to the stylus, but that just means communication is now more readily available and easy to access. Now more than ever, it is important to be an excellent, effective communicator....literally!
Enjoy this video and humorous blog. It will certainly give you a much needed comic relief, but on another level, it will also show you how seriously the Grammar Hammers of the world take this issue. Hey, let's be honest, you should probably take it seriously, too, because according to Forbes, these Grammar Nazi, OCGD, Grammar Police Officers will most likely be your employers and promoters someday!