Monday, June 25, 2012

It's All Twitter's Fault

New hires (that's code for young adults) can't spell, use proper grammar, or write an intelligent memo. At least that's what some employers and grammar experts would have you believe in a recent WSJ article entitled This Embarrasses You and I* Grammar Gaffes Invade the Office in an Age of Informal Email, Texting and Twitter.

The article catalogs the extreme lengths some companies employ for a standard English image, such as having employee letters reviewed before mailing, 25-cent grammar fines, and in-house tutoring. Ruined advertising and a tarnished company image provide employer justification, but to me it seems a lot of this could be avoided by a good proofreading.

These examples triggered a couple "new hire" memories of my own. First, my boss wasn't worried about poor grammar, but bad language, so every time an employee dropped an F-bomb in the office, he or she had to pay the can. Secondly, my boss had spelling problems of his own and created a 10,000 page door stop by announcing to the world that our company had a "Committment to Excellence"--it should be "Commitment" with two "t"s, not three. Whew, was I glad I wasn't involved in that fiasco.

The trouble with grammar among new hires seems to stem from "Texting and Twitter where slang and shortcuts are common. Such looseness with language can create bad impressions with clients, ruin marketing materials and cause communications errors, many managers say." On the other hand, employers should appreciate twitter-esque memos and emails that immediately get to the point. Who has time to read a beautifully written 3-page letter when one paragraph would do?

But really you "new hires" there is no excuse for not proofreading EVERYTHING including text messages -- especially text messages from phones with automatic spelling correctors that revise text messages to read "Grandma is in the grave" instead of "Grandma is in the garage." OmG!

Test your grammar--click on the link to the WSJ article--there is a tab for Interactive Graphics at the top and see how you score on their test. Remember, it is one thing to commit an occasional grammar blunder, it is something entirely different to commit rampant grammar and style mistakes. As a college student, you SHOULD know the difference.

What kind of embarrassing grammar gaffes have you made at work or in school? Can you think of television, magazine, or billboard ads that made you wonder, "Who in the world wrote that?"

13 comments:

  1. The most radical grammar mistakes I have made in school were only simple mispellings, tense shifts, and punctuation mistakes. But other than that I'm generally pretty good about how I use and spell words. I do not really go for all the spelling "shortcuts" that many people use in texting. And I do not have a twitter, so I have no clue how bad it is on there. But I think most of the "shortcuts" are confusing and pretty dumb. It is not that hard to just type out the word or phrase and make sure that the person you sent the "shortcutted word" to actually knows what you are saying.

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  2. I think it is a bad idea for people to have so mnay shortcuts for words. I do have a twitter account and the spelling on there is really bad, but most people still understand what someone is saying. Texting is what started all the "shortcuts" to begin with. People are getting lazier with the way they send messages to one another. Although it started with texting, now with the smartphones everyone is getting, it automaticlly corrects the words for you, so maybe people can back to writing full words and phrases.

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  3. I come across this problem all the time. We live in an era where people are exposed to all these social medias like twitter, facebook, etc. I personally have experienced myself writing bad spelling and grammar on my school work. For example, I have a problem with homonyms such as your and you're. Also, texting has a huge effect on our grammar because we are so careless with our words so we're used to the "text language" in which we accidentally incorporate into our essays which is a bad habit. Since high school i've been trying to text more formally, but since we are so busy with our everyday lives its very easy to write short cuts. Some short cuts are even just one letter short. For example, if i said i was going somewhere, i would write "goin" just because its one letter short.

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  4. i think that social websites are influencing us to have bad grammr. we are getting to used to using texting language like lol or lmao. these sites like facebook and twitter are influencing us to use bad grammar and arent showing us the write way to write.

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  5. I found the comic to be pretty silly. I constantly correct grammar, so it stuck out to me. I feel that social websites are influencing bad grammar, but also they dont influence correct grammar. Websites usually let you post whatever you want, but it would be pretty cool if twitter had a grammar correction before tweets were posted.

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  6. Who knew that us young adults, or "new hires" as the article brands us, were so bad at spelling. I imagine that before twitter and text messaging people were making spelling a grammar errors. It seem that these shorthanded mistakes could be a blessing in disguise. People are going to make mistakes, at least now there is a nice neat shorthanded code that everyone can get on board with. Even in the article they used "omg," which by now most people understand, while mistakes of the past completely destroyed peoples writing.

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  7. I text, twitter, and use all type of social media but I have never seemed to have a problem with this as some people tend to have. People should know the difference between writing to a friend and writing in a professional matter. That is why we are required to take English classes all threw high school and college, so when we get into our careers we can properly write. Many English teachers are very strict on students to try to avoid slang words and use shortcut in papers for class. Some people have trouble spelling but that could easily be fixed. Its important that we do proofread our work because that way we can catch mistakes that we didn't pay attention to while writing an email or message and we could correct the mistakes before we embarrass ourselves.

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  8. I find that this article is only seeing what the problem is right now, but not what has caused the actual problem. And from my experience what has caused the problem, is not just "twitter" "texting" "facebook", but its students lack of knowledge in grammar rules, basic writing, and spelling techniques. Many of my friends and, feared, having to take a college-level English course because many of us weren't taught or we weren't taught well grammar rules. Employers, teachers, parents, media, etc. before you go pointing fingers at us, you may direct that finger toward yourself.
    However, when I first started using the computer and going on websites, such as "myspace" and "facebook." I typed like I had never taken an English class in my entire life. English wasn't my first language so I was intentionally hurting myself, without knowing. Quickly, summer passed and school was starting, I was having legitimate trouble writing without abbreviations. Young people often think that it doesn't affect their writing in classes but it clearly does. Going from typing "Ur sooo not funni." to "You're so not funny."Seems simple enough but for some people it may be a grand stride to begin typing properly.

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  9. In the article "Bad Grammar", it made a lot of great points. One point i found interesting was , while talking to a client and they do not have proper grammar you make the company sound bad and also make your self sound uneducated. Grammar is going to be used in everyday life so we need to be smart about what we say and stop being lazy in class and get your education. We are the future so we must teach our young ones our knowledge so in there future they will teach there kids and it will start a big trend of proper grammar.

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  10. In this article "bad grammar", the author made very clear points. The feedback which they gave to the audience gave great insight on our generation which tends to be on the "lazy" side when it comes to finger typing/writing. I am a contributor to this ongoing trend also, my reason for slang is that is much easier to sometimes communicate with others and in addition make texting/emailing much easier & faster.

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  11. Honestly, technology and the media has had an impact on how students write during school. Twitter is just one from many social medias that students use to write carelessly in. For me, I have trouble spelling words out correctly because I depend on auto correct to catch my mistakes. Whenever I can't figure out how to spell a word, I get the nearest method with auto correct. What shocks me the most is that I have read essays from other people that write as if they were texting or twitting. Those people use abbreviations such as "tot" instead of thought. The social medias makes students write careless.

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  12. When it comes to grammar, I can either do really well, or my work could make no sense at all, even after proofreading a few times. Due to my use of texting throughout the day, I believe it has affected me, but not to the point where I shortcut through my texts or writing. When I text, I personally type out the full word, rather than "OMG" and "Lol" because in my eyes it looks better, however I have gotten in some mishaps about my grammar at work. I work as a waitress and we hand write the orders on a ticket where the chef reads it and prepares what is on it. On numerous occasions the chefs would be frustrated during a rush because I wrongfully spell words and it slows them down and one time my manager pulled me aside and asked me nicely to make sure I read my tickets over and if needed use a new ticket. I felt bad, but when I am in a rush, my focus on grammar flies out the door.

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  13. I’ve encountered many articles on social media that contained a lot of grammatical errors. I found it embarrassing because they were the simplest mistakes-- such as the distinction between “your” and “you’re”, “their” and “they’re”-- that grammar check can’t not fix. . In their defense, they weren’t big named sources. But if they were a big newspaper company, that would have hurt their credibility. Who would rely on sources that can’t form grammatically-correct sentences?
    I do in fact think that this is social media’s and text messaging fault. We want to be able to reply as quickly as possible that we’ve created abbreviations that even we sometimes mix up. I once came across this photo of a girl’s texts with her mom in which her mom completely misused the acronym “LOL” thinking that it stood for “lots of love”. And so when her mother broke the news that the girl’s grandmother had passed away, there was a miscommunication. Although it works, the acronym isn’t generally used in that way.
    Despite not having witnessed this issue being addressed somewhere other than this article, there are now applications that do the proofreading you. I’m not sure how effective they are- whether they make it better or worse, but it is better than no proofreading at all. I would recommend to proofread along with the program as it goes through the text.

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