Thursday, November 29, 2007

Grammar School

I drove to Branson Tuesday to teach a class on Business Grammar.

Business Grammar?


I usually teach it in conjunction with a class on email etiquette because most business is conducted there these days-and where most mistakes are made.

People tend to think of email as a less formal mode of communication and this assumption causes mistakes.

It also makes for very interesting questions.

Do I have to capitalize sentences when I write emails?

That was my favorite.

I've also seen the following written in an email. Someone was questioning inventory on an item and this was the response given.

I'm sorry to inform you that we don't got none of those left.

I'm not a grammar snob, but shouldn't a manager in a multi-billion dollar company know better? Yes-a manager.

I used that sentence in class as an example of what not to write.

This comment came from the back of the room.

But, shouldn't he write that way if that's the way he talks?


Here's the deal.

I'm the queen of colloquialism, Ya'll. I hillbilly it up with the best of them. I sprinkle it in my writing, I pepper it in my speech lest anybody forget I'm from the Ozarks.


I can and do speak and write in Standard English in a professional setting. I refuse to embarrass myself by sounding like an inbred, uneducated fool. (I embarrass myself in ways that have nothing to do with my communication skills. We won't bring up algebra, kay?)

I really don't mind that the rest of the world thinks we walk around barefoot swillin' shine from a jug.

...because some of us do.

I think it is vital for people to embrace their culture. We have a rich history and our speech patterns are evidence of such. However, it just makes me cringe when I hear professional people use poor grammar, ignore their spell check and hold usage errors in disdain.

I also got this comment-same jerk from the back of the room.

Well you know what I'm saying, don't you?-Insinuating that it didn't matter how he wrote it as long as he got his point across, and insinuating I was a snob.

God knows I'm not perfect. I never met a comma splice I didn't like. In fact I love the comma. So I cheat and use dashes so I don't use so many commas. I proofread myself into hysteria when I write my blog-and there are only seven people out there reading the silly thing. I labor over comments I leave in someone else's blog.

Can you imagine what I go through when writing for the professional masses?

Oh alright!

I am a snob.

...or just crazy as a shit-house rat.


Primal Sneeze said...

I have a friend of many years and we mail each other, very informally, (sorry for the commas there, Sugar) but when we recently started doing business together our work related emails are formal. The way we see it is two fold: 1. Work is work - personal is personal and 2. If either of us need to forward an email to a customer we won't be embarrassed by colloquialisms, lingo or private jokes and hence appear unprofessional.

Sugar Britches said...

A voice of reason, you are!