Friday, August 10, 2012

Punctuation is Important!!

My husband dropped this little article on my desk this morning and thought I'd enjoy reading it. Little did he know it would end up being reproduced many times over. My Laurel lesson on Sunday will include it and I thought writers everywhere---as well as job seekers everywhere---should know about this! Tech Industry CEO Kyle Wiens at Harvard Business Review, July 20, 2012 wrote the following: "If you think an apostrophe was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus, you will never work for me. If you think a semicolon is a regular colon with an identity crisis, I will not hire you. If you scatter commas into a sentence with all the discrimination of a shotgun, you might make it to the foyer before we politely escort you from the building . . . Everyone who applies for a position at either of my companies, iFixit or Dozuki, takes a mandatory grammar test. Extenuating circumstances aside (dyslexia, English language learners, etc.) if job hopefuls can't distinguish between "to" and "too," their applications go into the bin . . . Grammar is relevant for all companies. Yes, language is constantly changing, but that doesn't make grammar unimportant. Good grammar is credibility, especially on the internet. In blog posts, on Facebook statuses, in e-mails, and on company websites, your words are all you have. They are a projection of you in your physical absence. And, for better or worse, people judge you if you can't tell the difference between their, there, and they're . . . If it takes someone more than 20 years to notice how to properly use "it's," then that's not a learning curve I'm comfortable with. So even in this hyper-competitive market, I will pass on a great programmer who cannot write. Grammar signifies more than just a person's ability to remember high school English. I've found that people who make fewer mistakes on a grammar test will also make fewer mistakes when they are doing something completely unrelated to writing---like stocking shelves or labeling parts." Love this man! Granted, we can all make mistakes when we are dashing of a quick e-mail to someone, but those mistakes stand out like a red stain on a white dress! (Especially to writers who are tuned in to that sort of thing.) But what about budding writers who haven't yet discovered how crucially important grammar is to an editor - and to a reader? I'm not sure how we get the word out to our kids to pay attention in English class, but if their livelihood depends on it, I guess we'd better make an all out effort!

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