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Reasonable Grammar

by Miki Saxon

http://www.flickr.com/photos/g_kat26/4000171211/Last week I provided a graphic example of the importance of using capitals when writing; one I believed would be easily remembered and act as a cautionary warning.

Some call me a fanatic because, whether written or spoken, bad grammar in native English speakers makes me nuts, but I believe it’s a reasonable level of fanaticism.

I do expect people who graduated high school or the equivalent, let alone college, to know the difference between to, too and two, it’s and its and lose and loose; nor do I shrug it off when they insert a comma every three words for no apparent reason.

This is especially true in business where I also assume (fantasize?) that they will at least spell check the email or document and do a quick re-read to catch typos like form instead of from.

But I am not a perfectionist as is Kyle Wiens, who won’t hire for any position in his company—from writer to programmer—if they can’t pass a grammar test; nor do I agree with most of those who voiced the opposite in comments.

Moreover, while I believe that my grammar-in-action rates in the high nineties, I doubt I could pass the grammar test Wiens uses when interviewing.

Just because I use grammar correctly doesn’t mean I know all the rules behind doing so—nor do I care.

If you consider all this as lacking much substance consider that Wiens’ post, published a week ago by the Harvard Business Review, has garnered in excess of 2000-and-counting comments.

Interesting argument, but to me, Wiens and his detractors are perfect examples of what’s really wrong in the workplace these days.

Too many managers and workers are evangelizing a black and white, zero-tolerance policy about [whatever] and then doing their best to enforce it within their world.

Extremism leaves little room for being reasonable, which is the approach taken by Madonnahamel when he says, There’s a difference between being anal and being professional.”

Flickr image credit: g_kat26

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