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?"