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Good Grammar: An Ancient Art?

Ancient artifacts are pretty cool. Just take a look at the Dead Sea Scrolls, King Tut’s Golden Mask, or China’s Terracotta Warriors. With each new artifact discovery, a secret of the past is revealed. Often, these findings not only uncover truths about the past, but they also remind us of how far civilization has come.

Unfortunately, they don’t always show us how things have improved. One such exception is good grammar; it’s a dying art. If you look for it, it’s easy to see that proper grammar is being ridiculed everywhere: from grammatically loose Facebook posts and Tweets, to e-mails in professional settings and in public advertisements. We’re all guilty of it at times, after all, humans are imperfect creatures. A little bad grammar here and there never hurt anyone, right?

Recent studies have shown, however, that little or no grammar teaching in schools, combined with the popularity of social media sites, is contributing to students’ poor grammar skills.

Good grammar is already abused in places it shouldn’t be, like advertisements (I’m looking at you, Chik-Fil-A). In a world full of byte-sized blurbs and short attention spans, how can we turn the grammar ship around from eventual demise?

Humor.

Pre-teens and teenagers alike have short attention spans for the outdated grammar lessons (read: snooze fests) that many of us endured. Instead, good grammar should be taught (and for adults, refreshed) using humor. By making the process of learning good grammar humorous, you make it relatable.

But what is so important about using good grammar, anyway?

Attention to Detail:

Whether you’re writing a college application or job application, using good grammar shows attention to detail. It’s likely that you’ll have missed an apostrophe somewhere if you write something too quickly. Going back and checking your work ensures that you’ve crossed all your I’s and dotted your T’s, a quality potential employees and colleges will likely find attractive.

Professionalism:

This goes hand in hand with attention to detail. You never know how the person receiving your e-mail or essay may respond to “lazy” grammar. While some recipients may have similar grammatical habits, it’s always better to err on the side of professionalism. After all, it’s fairly unlikely that someone will critique your work for being too well written.

Avoiding Confusion:

Sure, a missed apostrophe in “its” qualifies as bad grammar, but it’s likely the reader will still be able to decipher what you’re really trying to say. But when the entire meaning of a sentence can be misinterpreted by poor grammar, it can help to avoid confusion by grammar-checking your work.

It never hurts to check your work, especially when it a small grammatical slip up can be the difference between professionalism and sloppiness. In doing so, you’re setting the standard for younger generations, and preventing good writing from becoming an ancient artifact.

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