Grammar at work – who cares?!

"Free speech doesn't mean careless talk" - WW2 propaganda posterAs we try to keep our noses above the rising tide of grammatical carelessness, let’s pause for a moment to consider seriously this rebuttal to the ‘grammar stickler’ approach: Who cares?

Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit, an online repair manual, cares. In spades. In fact, if you get your itses and it’ses in a twist, and don’t care to distinguish your toos from your tos, then Kyle won’t be reading the rest of your job application.

In fact, it doesn’t matter whether you want to be one of Kyle’s salespeople, operations staff or programmers – everybody has to pass the grammar test. Why? Because, Kyle says, ‘Grammar signifies more than just a person’s ability to remember high school English. I’ve found that people who make fewer mistakes on a grammar test also make fewer mistakes when they are doing something completely unrelated to writing — like stocking shelves or labelling parts’.

We get a lot of job query letters here at Red Pony, and you would be astonished – astonished – at the number we receive (from folk who want to be editors) that contain spelling or grammatical mistakes.

Put simply, when you dash off an email and send it as soon as you’ve typed the final character, without rereading it and checking for errors, you’re saying to your recipient, ‘You are not important to me’. This may be your intention, but if it isn’t, take a breath and read that message one more time before you hit ‘send’.

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photo credit: Office of War Information – Domestic Operations Branch 1942-1945 via Wikimedia Commons. This image is in the public domain.