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Old 04-23-2012, 08:24 AM   #16
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Bad grammar is rude.

It's asking me, the reader, to do the work to figure out what you're trying to say, rather then you, the writer, writing it in a such a way as to make its meaning clear.

Less work for you, more work for me. As I say: rude.
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Old 04-23-2012, 08:28 AM   #17
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I think the real problem is that the rules of grammar are changing, and things that are acceptable now were not always so. This means some one using the older grammar rules reading modern text would say it is bad, when in fact it is not.

For example, the use of "shall" is almost completely gone from American English, so sentences where "shall" is the correct word we now use "will." This would be bad grammar under the previous understanding of what "will" is used for.

So, IMO, good grammar will always be important, just what that means will continue to shift like it always has.
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Old 04-23-2012, 08:49 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Sure, you're going to want to "break the rules" in passages of dialogue (nobody "speaks" grammatically correct English), but it's important to know what those rules are before you start breaking them.


So yes, "essential" is my vote.
That was one of my points too.
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Old 04-23-2012, 08:55 AM   #19
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Only if you want the average reader to read your book.
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Old 04-23-2012, 09:00 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Stitchawl View Post
As I think most of us understood the above perfectly, I'd say following exacting grammar rules to be a bit outdated. I think the image below proves the same point with spelling.

No, not really - other versions of this point out that only 55 people out of 100 can read it. Although I'd question the figures, it has been shown that such images are legible only to good readers; poor readers struggle with them. It also depends on the language - English has relatively little redundancy, so it's still fairly easy to make out most words; a similar task with other languages, particularly Hebrew, is much more difficult. The basic premise behind this and other examples - that it doesn't matter about the order as long as the first and last letters are correct - has also been shown to be wrong:
http://www.mrc-cbu.cam.ac.uk/people/...vis/cmabridge/

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitchawl View Post
Spending most of my life in academia, I found waaaay too many people concerned more about grammar and spelling than about content. To me, that is just wrong on so many levels, and all too often wipes out that spark of desire to 'learn' that brings people to higher education in the first place.
That argument has been used for years to dumb down the UK education system; in recent years, the pendulum has swung back, and it's now recognised that having a good grounding in the basics of the language (preferably at a very young age, when children pick these things up very quickly) produces more imaginative work, because it then becomes what it should be - a mere tool, a way of communicating more effectively, rather than something that stymies people every time they try to string a sentence together.
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Old 04-23-2012, 09:15 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitchawl View Post
Spending most of my life in academia, I found waaaay too many people concerned more about grammar and spelling than about content. To me, that is just wrong on so many levels, and all too often wipes out that spark of desire to 'learn' that brings people to higher education in the first place.


Stitchawl
I really think this is dangerously backward thinking.

Attention to detail is important. Care in one's work is important. Consideration of others is important. Appreciation of quality is important. Effective and clear communication is important.
And shooting for higher than barely acceptable minimums is important.

That's in all things, not just writing. But so much of what we do, both in academics, when we are supposed to be building foundations, and after, when we are supposed to be building on those foundations, depend on written communication that there there is no better place to both apply, and also demonstrate those things.

And yes, I also agree that's rude to demand your reader do the work of organizing and disambiguating your meaning when you should have done it ahead of time. It speaks volumes to the reader, be the reader a book customer, a judge, a teacher, a potential employer or potential client, or in fact anyone who will have to get to know you primarily through your verbal communications, which, unless you find your self in an Adam and Eve, Garden of Eden type situation, is just about everyone.

Also, while I think it may be noble of you, as a reader, to be willing to make the effort of weeding through bad grammar to get a point and not judge the writer harshly because it, it's not good to suggest to a writer that it's OK to take that approach.

ApK

Last edited by ApK; 04-23-2012 at 09:22 AM.
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Old 04-23-2012, 09:20 AM   #22
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Agreed, grammar is changing for good and bad. Everyone's got a story about "that guy" who turned in a paper written entirely in text message speak, and then there's my own personal gripe about block formatting and the death of the tab character.

That having been said, I'm not perfect either. I've always had trouble with "its" and "it's," so I tend to use the former exclusively. Maybe its because the teachers made such a big deal about it in school or something; sometimes the best way to make someone screw up is to get them to think about what they're doing.

The other one that annoys me is the whole argument about commas and quotation marks. People have told me that you have to bookend your quotes with commas, even when another punctuation mark (like a period or question mark) would be more appropriate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitchawl View Post
Spending most of my life in academia, I found waaaay too many people concerned more about grammar and spelling than about content. To me, that is just wrong on so many levels, and all too often wipes out that spark of desire to 'learn' that brings people to higher education in the first place.
I ran into the same type of people in high school (and middle school, and elementary school). You could fail a paper based on grammar and spelling alone, without any content issues. All those red "-1" marks can add up real quick.

Thankfully, I didn't run into it in college. People were more concerned about other things and grammar check wasn't one of them unless things got real bad. They were more concerned with papers that could pass turnitin.com and its plagarism check.
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Old 04-23-2012, 09:25 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitchawl View Post
Spending most of my life in academia, I found waaaay too many people concerned more about grammar and spelling than about content. To me, that is just wrong on so many levels, and all too often wipes out that spark of desire to 'learn' that brings people to higher education in the first place.


Stitchawl
Although I can agree with much of what you say and from my own experience know that when I am on a roll, I just go with it and correct errors later, I do think that the young should be taught good grammar at least once.

I can remember going to my daughter's school parents day. Looking through her English books her teacher had given her nine out of ten for a story she had written. When I questioned her teacher and pointed out that the essay was full of spelling mistakes and punctuation errors, I was told that they “Don't like to stifle the children's creativity.”!
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Old 04-23-2012, 09:26 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by teh603 View Post
sometimes the best way to make someone screw up is to get them to think about what they're doing.
It could be argued that you often must pass through conscious incompetence and conscious competence before you can get to unconscious competence, where you do it right without thinking about it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_stages_of_competence
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Old 04-23-2012, 09:27 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuvReadin View Post
No, not really - other versions of this point out that only 55 people out of 100 can read it. Although I'd question the figures, it has been shown that such images are legible only to good readers; poor readers struggle with them.
I have to disagree with that. My wife was able to read it, and her ability with English is marginal. I'd estimate that she understands less than 40% of spoken English.

Quote:
That argument has been used for years to dumb down the UK education system
In terms of content, does the ability to use a semi-colon correctly really have that much effect on the actual transference of information? How about ending a sentence with a preposition? Starting a sentence with 'but' or 'and.' Yes, I agree that it might be jarring to those who were brought up under a strict disciplinarian teacher who demanded students carry "Elements of Style" with them to class every day, but it certainly doesn't 'dumb down' the content.

While I would always make note a grammar or spelling mistake on student's papers, I never reduced grades because of them, especially at the University levels. To me, that's as bad as forcing a student to put up their hand and ask permission to go to the toilet.

Toilet training, or the academic equivalents, grammar and spelling, should be kept to the primary schools, after which, no one should pay attention to either good or bad usage. Focus should be on content. Spend more time on content learning and less on toilet training and there is less 'dumbing down' in the schools.

In my 'humble' opinion, that is.

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Old 04-23-2012, 09:31 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by DrNefario View Post
Bad grammar is rude.

It's asking me, the reader, to do the work to figure out what you're trying to say, rather then you, the writer, writing it in a such a way as to make its meaning clear.

Less work for you, more work for me. As I say: rude.
You just gave me work then, working out that you meant by rather then, rather than, rather than. Not easy is it?
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Old 04-23-2012, 09:31 AM   #27
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Grammar is essential.

Split infinitives I'm okay with. Sentence-ending prepositions too, but just barely.

If I see a grammatical or spelling error in a book, I have to stop, find my red pen, and underline it.

This is quite troubling on a nook.

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Old 04-23-2012, 09:32 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by ApK View Post
It could be argued that you often must pass through conscious incompetence and conscious competence before you can get to unconscious competence, where you do it right without thinking about it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_stages_of_competence
Er... yeah what he said
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Old 04-23-2012, 09:32 AM   #29
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Maybe you've heard about the trend of youngsters who are now using keyboard-equipped smartphones taking the trouble to type their words and grammar correctly, to show off their phones and their writing prowess.

Resorting to textspeak is lazy and suggestive of a lack of education, and that is not lost on those who have to read it. Sure, if you're back-and-forthing about your latest school crush or the movie you just saw, it's no big deal. But in polite and formal situations, proper spelling and grammar are still expected: It marks them with friends and strangers as intelligent people who care about the things they write.

Bottom line: If you want people to think you have a brain, write properly.
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Old 04-23-2012, 09:38 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitchawl View Post
While I would always make note a grammar or spelling mistake on student's papers, I never reduced grades because of them, especially at the University levels.
If you are grading a science paper, I can almost understand and appreciate that (unless the grammar is actually bad enough to make the content unclear, which is far closer to what we're talking about than a misused semicolon [which I am utterly unclear about by the way...I never understood semicolons]).
If you are grading an English composition paper, I think you're doing the student, and society, a disservice.

Quote:
To me, that's as bad as forcing a student to put up their hand and ask permission to go to the toilet.

Toilet training, or the academic equivalents, grammar and spelling, should be kept to the primary schools, after which, no one should pay attention to either good or bad usage. Focus should be on content. Spend more time on content learning and less on toilet training and there is less 'dumbing down' in the schools.
To extend your analogy, you think teaching kids toilet training is important, but you see nothing wrong with a college student choosing to relieve himself in the middle of your classroom.

The lesson is valuable, but using the lesson in life is not?

ApK

Last edited by ApK; 04-23-2012 at 09:42 AM.
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