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Save a Life, Read Your St. Martin’s Handbook

October 8, 2012
Posted by Jenna Green

In this day and age of text messages, IMs, Facebook, Twitter and email, the English language as we know it (and as it was taught to us in what some people refer to as “grammar school”) is changing. Correct grammar and punctuation seem to be well on their way to extinction. Does this mean that we’re headed to a future where grammar will be a free-for-all – spell, punctuate and conjugate as you please?

I stumbled upon this article while looking for a brief writing test to administer to potential job applicants and realized that I’m not alone in being a stickler for the correct use of “your” and “you’re,” “its” and “it’s.” The author makes a point that’s valid for all business professionals, regardless of industry: you never know who is judging your grammar – written or verbal. While the slightest mistake may seem like a small detail, in our business, the details are what make or break the work. A little mistake can cost $1000s – in reprinting, in ad misprint make-goods or even in lost business.

Our common language and the rules that govern it are part of an evolutionary process to allow for deeper and more meaningful social interactions. They serve to hold groups together for better chance of survival. Violation of those shared rules can read as unintelligent, lazy, careless or, in some cases, disrespectful. It sounds a little harsh, but maybe it’s true: punctuation and grammar save lives. And job prospects.

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