Grammar Rules: CEO Stands Up For Grammar (& Why That's Important)

Over the past couple of decades, I believe grammar has taken a beating--and not just in an "LOL" kind of way, but in a "I'm too lazy to learn the difference between 'to' and 'too'" kind of way. So when the CEO of iFixit.com stood up for grammar in a recent piece he wrote for the Harvard Business Review (I Won't Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar. Here's Why.), I started applauding from my desk. Here's what he had to say.
Author:
Publish date:

Over the past couple of decades, I believe grammar has taken a beating--and not just in an "LOL" kind of way, but in a "I'm too lazy to learn the difference between 'to' and 'too'" kind of way. So when the CEO of iFixit.com stood up for grammar in a recent piece he wrote for the Harvard Business Review ("I Won't Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar. Here's Why."), I started applauding from my desk.

oeb-red-exclamation-mark

Grammar isn't just something you learn just to appease your high school English teachers; it's a valuable skill that more people should take seriously. And Kyle Wiens (iFixit's CEO) really does an excellent job of explaining why:

But grammar is relevant for all companies. Yes, language is constantly changing, but that doesn't make grammar unimportant. Good grammar is credibility, especially on the internet. In blog posts, on Facebook statuses, in e-mails, and on company websites, your words are all you have. They are a projection of you in your physical absence. And, for better or worse, people judge you if you can't tell the difference between their, there, and they're.

Good grammar makes good business sense — and not just when it comes to hiring writers. Writing isn't in the official job description of most people in our office. Still, we give our grammar test to everybody, including our salespeople, our operations staff, and our programmers.

On the face of it, my zero tolerance approach to grammar errors might seem a little unfair. After all, grammar has nothing to do with job performance, or creativity, or intelligence, right?

Wrong. If it takes someone more than 20 years to notice how to properly use "it's," then that's not a learning curve I'm comfortable with. So, even in this hyper-competitive market, I will pass on a great programmer who cannot write.

Read Wiens' full article on why he won't hire people who use poor grammar here.

I believe that if more people in places of power speak out in support of strong grammar skills--and define it in these terms--then more folks will start to recognize how valuable good writers (who pay close attention to these kinds of details) really are.

It's nice to know that this CEO gets it. And I applaud him for that.

More on Grammar: Looking to beef up on your grammar knowledge and set yourself apart from the many who don't? Check out Grammar Girl's article on The 13 Trickiest Grammar Hang Ups (& How to Get Them Right).

************

wd-Brian-web-19.jpg

Follow me on Twitter: @BrianKlems
Enjoy funny parenting blogs? Then you'll love: The Life Of Dad
Sign up for my free weekly eNewsletter: WD Newsletter

Amir

The “Secret Sauce” Necessary to Succeed at a 30-Day Writing Challenge

In this article, author and writing coach Nina Amir lays out her top tips to master your mindset and complete a 30-day writing challenge.

Kane2

Crashing Into New Worlds: Writing About the Unfamiliar

Award-winning crime author Stephanie Kane explains how she builds characters unlike herself and navigates their worlds to create vivid and realistic stories.

plot_twist_story_prompts_without_a_trace_robert_lee_brewer

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Without a Trace

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character leave without a trace.

WDVintage_10_29

Vintage WD: The Truth about True Crime

In this article from July 2000, true crime novelist and former New York Times correspondent Lisa Beth Pulitzer shares with us some key insights for breaking into the true crime genre.

new_agent_alert_barb_roose_books_such_literary_services_adult_christian_fiction_and_nonfiction

New Agent Alert: Barb Roose of Books & Such Literary Management

New literary agent alerts (with this spotlight featuring Barb Roose of Books & Such Literary Management) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.

Grinnell_10:28

Evoking Emotion in Fiction: Seven Pragmatic Ways to Make Readers Give a Damn

Evoking emotion on the page begins with the man or woman at the keyboard. Dustin Grinnell serves up seven straightforward tactics for writing tear-jerking stories that make your readers empathize with your characters.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 546

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a spooky poem.

Richard_Shadowlands

Learn Better World-Building Strategies Through World of Warcraft and the New Shadowlands Expansion

WD editor and fantasy writer Moriah Richard shares five unique ways in which writers can use World of Warcraft to better build their worlds—without playing the game.