Is bad grammar the great career killer?

Published: Wednesday, March 6 2013 12:25 p.m. MST

Attention to detail: People who care about their writing demonstrate credibility, professionalism and accuracy in their work.

Critical thinking: Knowing how to structure a grammatically correct sentence is a sign that you can analyze and explain complex problems.

Intellectual aptitude: If you are a native English speaker and never learned the difference between “it’s” and “its,” an employer might wonder: What else have you failed to learn that might be useful?

I spend a lot of time writing in MS Word every day and often discover spelling or grammatical errors upon proofreading that Word missed. I think we’ve become complacent because we haven’t had to memorize vocabulary words or structure sentences. For most situations, technology does it for us.

Furthermore, every day I hear people mispronounce words and misspeak because they have never actually spelled a particular word and may even be guessing at its meaning. Embarrassing? It should be, but most of our colleagues aren’t so boorish as to correct us publicly — at least I’ve been off the hook since Mr. Boehme’s class. The offenders likely never know they are projecting a negative image of themselves and consequentially stunting their professional growth.

My English major son will sometimes read one of these pieces and ask me who my editor is. It’s his way of suggesting that I probably should have proofed my article a time or two more.

How much attention do you give to grammar? Do you think it’s important?

As a Main Street business evangelist and marketing veteran with more than 25 years in the trenches, Ty Kiisel writes about leading people and small-business issues for Lendio (lendio.com).

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