Posts Tagged punctuation

An open letter and a personal plea

Posted by on Tuesday, 2 November, 2010

I hope you understand, I like you. I don’t think I am smarter than you, nor do I think you are stupid.  If that were the case I wouldn’t associate with you, let alone call you “friends”. I do not consider myself above reproach, nor infallable*. We all have our faults, we all make mistakes, but I am noticing a very disturbing trend: a backlash against proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

Call me the grammar police, or the spelling cops, but I draw the line at Nazi. Really? I am not condemning you to the gas chambers because you left out an Oxford comma, or decided that comma was spelled coma (a distinction that can very easily outline the importance of spelling on its own). Yes, I may demand your use of proper English, and yes I likely will point it out when you fail to do so. But labeling me as a Nazi is uncalled for (unless you want me goose-stepping all over your dangling participles).

I come to you today, however, not to demand that you improve your spelling or grammatical skills; no I come to you today to implore you to simply stop this growing trend of hate against people who expect communication at a higher level than ‘pre-school’. I know that you, my friends, are better than that. When we speak with each other, I hear the voices of intelligent thought. There are times, however, when I read your Facebook posts or Twitter statuses, and even emails and sigh heavily at the impression you are giving to the rest of the world. It makes me sad because I know you for the intelligent people you are, but that intelligence is simply not reflected when you make such obvious spelling or grammatical errors. People will judge you on your written communication skills; like it or not.

So please, take this to heart: I am not seeking attention when I correct you, I am trying to help you learn. I want you to use proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation so that others may see the intelligence you truly hold and not miss your real message. From a much more selfish side, I simply want to understand what you are trying to say without having to translate through improper structure or spelling issues. We are all inundated with information nowadays, so efficiency and clarity of communication is even more essential now. Proper use of spelling, grammar, and punctuation is critical to these end goals.

To be clear, it isn’t perfection I seek, but rather incremental improvement from our present state. We can all stand to improve our communication skills, and today seems like the perfect day to start!

*See what I did there? An intentional misspelling to prove a point!