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.


9 Responses to “Grammatical disappointment”

  1. Mum on December 22nd, 2006 16:30

    I only got one incorrect. I thought the colour (color)(incidentally spelt incorectly) belonged to the car and answered it’s!

    Well done Mum !!

  2. Happy Xmas on December 23rd, 2006 22:00

    Did’nt you have sum kynd of bet or chalenge not to compere the UK to the US?

  3. Dan on December 24th, 2006 01:17

    Dang. The conditional pledge was made on 28 July, so I’m 5 months into the 6 month stint.

    I’m sure Chris has forgotten all about it though. Also, it was a passing comparison rather than an active analysis.

  4. elise on December 27th, 2006 10:43

    i’d second that nomination for ‘pedant’…

    (i got them all correct)

    just to clarify (i’m sure dan’s heard this one a hundred times), we spell things *differently* in US English–‘color’ here is not incorrect. conversely, ‘spelt’ (spelled) would be. 😉

  5. Dan on December 27th, 2006 17:39

    Elise is wholeheartedly correct. And Mum was shamefully incorrect in her spelling of “incorrect”.

    Oh, and no space before an exclamation mark, please!

  6. Chris on December 28th, 2006 16:36

    Ahhhh – wrong – thanks “mum” – my first comment as one of the ill educated is “really, yawn, am I bovered” – the second is, and encouraged only by the content of your note, I do need to remind you that my pledge for your 100m run was reliant on the absence of the described comparison. However as I am a kind soul, I will not withdraw my cash but will require you to match it. In addition you need to make that extra donation public with an entry of its own, together with a request to readers, ill educated or not, to check all your other entries for other examples – your mum can arbitrate. Happy New Year.

  7. Chris on January 5th, 2007 00:15

    Waiting for you to “come out” on this one D

  8. Dan on January 6th, 2007 07:21

    Don’t worry. I’ve not forgotten. Will sort it when I get a moment…

  9. Where grammar and geekery collide « osirra consulting on August 23rd, 2009 21:37

    […] I’ve already referred to the sliding standards of people at large, it seems this trend is particularly prevalent among […]

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