Is it really that difficult to write proper?
December 18, 2012
OK, I know I am setting myself up to be shot down in flames, but please can companies make an effort with their grammar and punctuation? I get it that the language is living and evolving, but when a company is trying to make a good impression and writing to me or advertising to me, then I think it helps to get the basics right.
I didn’t learn it at school, being a child of a state comprehensive education in the permissive 60s and 70s when all that grammar bollox got thrown out and self expression came in.
Luckily of course I had a mother who was articualte and educated (not to mention elocuted – is that possible to make in to a verb?) and I write as I speak having been corrected numerous times over the years.
My memory is of being stunned at the usage of English by my classmates when I moved to Wales from Scotland. Lend and borrow were not opposite ends of the same transaction as borrow didn’t exist. “Can I lend your ruler?” Well no actually , as you don’t own it.
And nobody put ‘ly’ on the end of adverbs (are they adverbs – see I don’t know the theory), but you know the descriptive words – beautifully, properly, quietly.
I get that it’s not important and I try not to judge individuals based on their grammmar or accent – hell my accent is so far up the yokel tree I am possibly a scarecrow – but bad grammar grates with me, particularly when written down in official material. That and this never ending obsession of making up new verbs (see my own attempt above!) – but today I got an email telling me someone who had got internal promotion was ‘starting the on-boarding process’. Whatever the fuck that might be. I normally just walk in the front door, but perhaps when you get to the really high echelons there is a special ritual you have to get through every day just to get in to work.
I find efforts to try to posh up writing usually end in disaster. The excruciating misuse of ‘yourself’ as in “I would welcome the opportunity to discuss this with yourself”. With you, you ignorant twat, with you. It makes me feel that I don’t want to discuss anything with you. Which of course is completely over the top, so I try to reign it in when it is a simple request from a client rather than a missive from a company trying to sell me something.
But none of it as bad as the bilingual road sign that was erected in Wales. Swansea council had emailed for a translation from English in to Welsh and duly made their sign using the reply they got. Unfortunately it read ‘ I am not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated.’
And as our daughter pointed out, you either know your shit or you should know you’re shit.
There’s a gaping chasm of a difference.