I love writing, rewriting, and rewriting a sentence or paragraph until it says exactly what I want it to say in the manner I want to say it — commas, em dashes, capital letters, italics and all.
It’s comforting to know that I’m not alone.
In celebration of March 4 National Grammar Day 2017, I offer this selection of thoughts by like-minded people who agree: Yes, grammar still matters.
“Your grammar is a reflection of your image. Good or bad, you have made an impression. And like all impressions, you are in total control.”
— Jeffrey Gitomer, American author and business trainer
“The rise of texting, social media, and website comment sections mean there’s more language being written than ever before. Along with impulsive typing on small devices, our grammar has collectively gotten worse. Brevity is frequently appreciated, but it’s amazingly easy to hit “send” before really examining what we’re sending. And relying on spell-check is basically a condom — highly effective but not foolproof.
“I can tell you one thing for certain: The fine print of any brand contest, the terms and conditions of any cell phone contract you sign, and the privacy clauses of any app you download have been proofread many times over. Lawyers know how to do that pretty well.
“Perhaps we could take a lesson from them, and write as if we’d get sued for our grammatical mistakes. We’d certainly be more careful.”
“Today’s use of digital platforms and social media has changed our appetite for news and certainly how we consume it. It is no longer acceptable to get today’s breaking stories on the late night news or in tomorrow morning’s newspaper. We require a constant digital feeding tube of new news and the latest, subsequent updates. We also want it as free as possible. At the same time, reduced advertising revenues add less to a media outlet’s bottom line, straining staff resources.
“Has our demand for immediate delivery and a churn of updates destroyed the writing and editing process? Has the prevalence of social media, full of all kinds of shortcuts and abbreviations – along with the preference for immediacy outweighing carefulness – made us turn a blind eye to proper grammar in professional writing? Can we trust a news article’s factual accuracy if it’s full of other obvious errors?
“A well written, properly spelled and grammatically correct article demonstrates a level of conscientiousness that can reflect the overall quality in the writing of the actual report. I am more likely to have faith in the reporting, fact-gathering and editing if I am not tripping over other errors. Yes, good grammar still very much matters.”
“It [grammar] matters because good grammar conveys a great deal about a person.
“Quality is in the details — and attention to commas, semicolons, dangling participles, gerunds and the proper placement of quotation marks says to the reader that this person is careful, considerate (because bad grammar is painful to the discerning eye), and (there’s that Oxford comma) competent.”
” ‘Grammar is credibility.’ says Amanda Sturgill, an associate professor of communications at Elon University, where I recently spoke. ‘If you’re not taking care of the small things, people assume you’re not taking care of the big things.’ ”
Credibility and Reputation
“We all seek to create an online persona that is respected by the community. To find success in that endeavor, we must build a reputation for accuracy and credibility. Unfortunately, poor grammar and spelling errors are not trademarks of a credible writer.
“These types of issues reflect ignorance and carelessness and suggest the writer didn’t truly care about the quality of the post. In short, mistakes reflect poorly on your brand. If you want the respect and adoration of your readers, provide them with high-quality and polished content free of grammatical errors.”
And for the hard-core grammarians — or those of you who are tired of reading and need some visual and auditory stimulation — this video explains the difference between prescriptivists and descriptivists.
Again, may your day … your week … your month … your year be the most grammatical yet!
The Ruthless Editor