Grammatical disappointment

2006 has been a year of grammatical disappointment. On both sides of the Atlantic, I’ve been stunned at the lack of grammatical awareness among colleagues and clients.

There are two types: grammatical clumsiness and unquestionable errors. The former is almost expected; the latter is becoming similarly commonplace. I’ve seen numerous documents allegedly in a state ready for distribution which have been littered with mistakes.

While Microsoft Office will correct your spelling and make sure your sums are correct, it hasn’t yet mastered perfecting the grammar of the ill-educated.

The root of the problem has to be schooling. The trend is generally more prevalent among younger workers (although it’s surprising how often the older generation can get it wrong), indeed suggesting that educational standards have dropped over time. I also think the trend is exacerbated through laziness. People sometimes know the rule that they’ve broken (its/it’s being a prime example) once their copy has been corrected.

While I would be the first to give myself the pedant label (well, maybe not the first), I’m confident that my issue here goes beyond pedantry.

For the record, while both countries fall short of the mark, my experience suggests that grammatical standards in the American workplace are higher than those here in the UK.

Here’s a little test to keep you on your toes.

Posted by Dan, 21 December, 2006 under Grammar | Life


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