Proper Spelling, Grammar, and Punctuation: Why These Things Matter

15 Jun

Do errors in spelling, grammar or punctuation irritate you? Do said errors often cause you to formulate an opinion on a person’s character or level of education? This is an issue that persists in my day-to-day life and interactions with others. I am a snob about spelling, grammar, and punctuation, and yes, I will judge you for making consistent mistakes in your communication with me.

Nothing seems to annoy me more than the use of “text speak,” or shortened bits of language used often by serially sinful texters. I cannot stand the substitution of “u” for “you” or “r” for “are. I simply do not understand why people think this proper English. Unfortunately, this trend spills over into every aspect of communication we see in use today.

My recent foray into online dating shows a severe lack of care among adults with the way they present themselves to others. One would-be suitor sent me the charming message, “wut r u lookin for in a man, cuz u got what i need”. My profile states that I am a college graduate with an English degree. This apparently means nothing to men who are on the hunt for ass. The fact that this young man thought he could eventually remove my panties by writing such an asinine sentence (I am cringing at even calling it a “sentence”) is completely unbelievable to me. Whatever happened to one taking a sense of pride in his or her communicative abilities? What’s even worse is that many professionals use this sort of language in the workplace!

A recent article appearing in the Huffington Post declared, “Craigslist Ads with Good Grammar Get Better Response.” The only thing I could say to this conclusion: duh. Think of the effort it takes to scour Craigslist for furniture, roommates, or jobs. You would like for the ads you read to be clear, concise, and free of any errors, so as not to waste your precious earth time. However, obvious errors in spelling and grammar could change whether or not one would be inclined to answer an ad. When I see a job posting with loads of grammatical and spelling errors, I will not apply for that job. The thought of having to work with people who take so little pride in how they present themselves professionally is truly disturbing to me.

Robert Lane Greene, a contributor to The Economist interviewed by the Huffington Post, proclaimed “we judge each other’s writing as a way of saying some other person doesn’t have the kind of education we have.” I cannot lie and say that I have not made judgments on the levels of education of others based on their writing. Writing clearly and effectively is the most critical skill a person could possess, and it shocks me every time I notice someone with an obvious inattention to their spelling, grammar, or punctuation.

Perhaps I am a total snob when it comes to writing well, But I can not think of another ability with as much value in today’s world. Of course not everyone loves language and the possibilities that beautiful writing can present to an individual, but it is not much to ask for when I hope to have suitors with an ability to spell or employers who are as educated as myself. Taking pride in your writing is a baby step toward longevity and success in both your professional and private lives.

One Response to “Proper Spelling, Grammar, and Punctuation: Why These Things Matter”

  1. shoutabyss June 16, 2011 at 2:50 PM #

    Some of the posts I’ve seen on Craigslist (a wretched hive of scum and villainy) truly make me want to weep for humanity. All I can do is shrug and say, “They walk among us.”

    As usual you’re right on the money.

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