Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Proper Grammar Is A Courtesy

People hate having their grammar corrected. And when you do correct somebody's grammar, the #1 response is, "I don't care what's right. You understood what I was saying."  And, you know what?  It's true.  I do understand what people are saying, or trying to say.  I can figure out typos, missing punctuation, incorrect word usage, and all the countless errors I come across in written language.  But I shouldn't have to.

Standard written English is a level playing field.  It is a common language that people of all dialects and classes can understand.  The more we see it, the deeper it is ingrained into our minds.  We can read and understand very quickly because we have guidelines that streamline the process.  When we deviate from the standards, it slows down and complicates the process.

The more errors there are in your writing, the longer it takes me to recognize an error, figure out what caused the error, what the likely intention was, and processing that information.  One missed keystroke here and there can make for a bumpy ride.  But several mistakes in each sentence will turn that ride into a crawl.

When you use proper grammar, you are being courteous to your readers.  You are saving them time and trouble from having to figure out what you meant to say, because you actually said what you meant.  On top of that, you are also helping yourself by making people happier and more willing to read your work, because of how simple the process is.  There's really no reason not to do it (except for being lazy).


  1. and there's no reason to be lazy.

    One possible exception to grammar is informal speech. I think the processing speed for the spoken word is fast enough that it largely doesn't matter unless you're just being dumb.

    You can filter out the uhs and the likes and the sos a lot easier in speech than you can in writing. You actually have to listen for someone to say "uh" to notice it.