Monday, July 11, 2011

One of many...

...of my pet peeves is reading something that is so poorly written (spelling, grammatically, syntax, etc.) that it literally looks like someone dropped words at random into a sentence.

This is irritating for a number of obvious reasons:
1.) I can't understand what you're trying to say to me.
2.) The self-righteous part of me feels like (depending who I've received this garbly-goop from) you probably should know how to write correct English by now.
3.) I have received this in a professional/ work memo.
4.) It's a waste of everyone's time trying to figure out the encoded message.
5.) It's pretty sad for the English language in an abstract sense.
.. and etc.
And obviously this does not pertain to a few typos because you were in a hurry.  Or if you are using English as your second language.  Or you have a learning disability.  Or you're golden, minus the fact that you can't distinguinsh "your" and "you're".
But.  I need to be able to read the thoughts you are trying to get out of your brain.

Okay.  But... really.  What is more frustrating about this is that we are graduating students from college who cannot write.  We are graduating students who use words in the wrong context (and spell them incorrectly).  We are graduating students who consistently use run-on sentences or the wrong tense in term papers and work letters.  I know that I've definitely had this conversation with a few of my colleagues before.  But I just don't understand.  What is happening?  Surely, this can't all be the downhill spiral of the English language because of technology.  I can understand people getting sloppy with spelling because they are dependent on Spell Check (it irks me, but at least it makes sense).
Is it just because people aren't reading enough as children and young adults?  Is it because our public education is not sufficient?  I have attended public school my entire life (and proud of it), and I would consider myself a decent writer.  So... what is happening?  Where are we missing the fact that students can't write? And... when did we decide that that was okay?

I'm not saying that all of these students are stupid or clearly incapable of functioning in the work place.   Obviously not.  Written communication is only a piece of that.  But if the written word is typically considered such an essential part of communication both personally and professionally, why have we relinquished it as a basic requirement for "going into the real world"?  Boo.

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