You may have read about a survey by Staples of England in which two-thirds of respondents said that they regard simple spelling or grammar errors as ‘shoddy’ and would ‘have no faith’ in the sender.
That led me to go back and reread a favorite post by Brian Clark entitled Five Grammatical Errors that Make You Look Dumb.
I’m a sucker for this stuff– and I recognize that there are two kinds of people, those who love it and those who don’t. For the first kind, to see blog authors obviously not caring a whit for the differing meanings of it’s/its, their/they’re, and who’s/whose is like hearing off-key singing, or listening to screeching fingernails on a blackboard, or being subjected to loud talking during a movie. You suffer, but you can’t call the police.
By now you’re either nodding your head or you’re of the second kind, and probably have stopped reading. That’s OK; those people probably don’t know who William Safire was either.
If you are still reading, here’s a post that you’ll want to check out because it really got people riled up: Why I Won’t Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar, by Kyle Wiens.
It provides a fascinating glimpse into the thinking on the other side, by way of the numerous indignant comments it triggered. Most of the attempted rebuttals were written by bad spellers, of course.
One wrote, “…as someone who works in a highly customer facing environment, id [sic] rather an employee [sic] who can talk and build rapport with a client over someone who can right [sic] well but fails at articulating themselves verbally.”
Another fumed, “To not hire someone purely because of bad grammer even if grammer has nothing to do with their job is bullls**t.”
Granted, if forced to make the choice between a bad speller with people skills and a good speller with none, I would hire the bad speller– for a very limited set of job requirements. However, in today’s economy, with so many well-educated people out of work, I doubt it would come down to just those two. I bet I could find a reasonably good speller with people skills.
And you know what? I wouldn’t have to hear screeching fingernails (and having fantasies about my sweet old “grammar”— who was a stickler for proper English, bless her soul— running people down with her Buick).
Do you have any favorite bad-grammar or bad-spelling stories (or photos)? Tell me about them in the comments section.