The Importance of Grammar and Spelling
It is tempting in a world of e-mail, instant messaging, and text messaging to believe that grammar and spelling are unimportant. Do not succumb to this temptation! In professional correspondence (such as that between student and professor) it is important not only to be clear and concise about what you are saying, but also to be grammatically correct in how you say it. For those who know they have trouble with grammar and spelling have someone proofread your correspondence or simply use spell check.
I would like to share some thoughts about why this is important. It goes without saying that once in a while you will come across a typo. I'm sure you could find some in our textbook and I'm sure you could find some in my lectures. However, it is important to work hard to minimize these errors because failing to do so says something about you and your attitude.
The major problem with poor grammar and spelling is the impression it creates for the reader of your document. Consider the following real example:
"Mr. Browne i was e mailing you to see if there is anyway you can let me into ur class. Im going into teaching and this will eb my last semister and i need this class if it aint to much to ask can u let me in the class thanks."
Here this student is requesting entry into my class. Look at the number of misspelled words and the poor grammar (including the use of "aint") in this short note. Do you think I allowed this student to enroll in my class? No! Consider this as you write cover letters to resumes or write letters to professors. No one is going to take you seriously if you don't take the time to proofread your document. It's no good saying that you simply write like you talk. This is simply unacceptable. What poor grammar and spelling indicates is one of two things. 1. You're not intelligent enough to write any better. 2. You don't care enough to write any better. Either impression is negative.
The technology of spell check and grammar check can take care of a lot of these problems, however, there are risks to leaving things to these technologies. First, they are not foolproof. Here's a partial list of the errors that spell check will not catch:
to two too
they're their there
In each of these cases you might be using the wrong word. Unfortunately, because they are real words, spell check will not tell you this and in most cases grammar check won't either. Another problem is that even if spell check or grammar check indicates a problem you have to know enough to correct it! If you don't, then these tools are virtually worthless. So, in any case you must know the basics of good spelling and grammar.
It's no use saying that your audience does not care. This is simply untrue in most cases. Also, dangerous to assume that your reader doesn't care in cases where you don't know the person at all. Besides, how can it hurt you to err on the side of good writing practices?
It's also no use saying that grammar and spelling don’t matter because everyone will understand you anyway. I'm sure you've seen examples like this:
"cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy,
deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm.
Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!"
Do not conclude from this that it doesn't matter how you write as long as your message in understandable. Can you really be sure that your message will be understood? Consider this example:
"Somthing I was concerned about is will just do what you done with assignments just open up the exam for an amount of time for us to complete it the clas it down."
Do you understand what this student is asking? I didn't! The same thing has happened on essay exams due in large part to poor grammar. If I can't understand you I can't give you credit for an answer. The best way to insure that you will be understood is to write well.
Once again, let me stress that poor grammar and spelling sends a loud, clear message, to the person you are corresponding with, that you do not care. If this is, in fact, the impression you wish to convey, then you should continue to write with poor spelling and grammar! However, I suspect that this is not the impression you mean to convey. So it is in your best interest to show that you care by taking the time to produce a well thought out and coherent document.
I hope that it is obvious by now that I take this issue seriously. I am trying to give you helpful advice that will benefit you not only in this class but in the future as well. In practical terms, the assignments you turn in to me need to adhere to the guidelines I set forth; otherwise, you will lose points. This also goes for discussion boards as well. The point of the discussion boards is for you to engage in thoughtful dialogue with each other and me. By definition, your dialogue will not be thoughtful if you do not put thought into not only what you say but how you say it as well. Expect your posts to be removed for grammatical and spelling errors. Harsh, you say? There's a spell check feature right on the discussion board text box! There is also such a box on the exam text boxes as well as every other assignment. Use it! But, remember it is not foolproof.