This is now the second week in a row that I have been teaching (hopefully more like re-teaching) my senior high school students grammar. We have been reviewing how and when to use who/whom, when they should place a semicolon or a colon in a sentence, and making sure they aren’t the ones using the most common of grammar usage errors. However, some might ask me, “why are you bothering going over grammar with seniors? Shouldn’t they already know this?” To that I answer, “yes, I would hope that they already know these grammar rules and pitfalls. But it’s still a skill they need.”
I believe that being able to write properly, to be able to construct a simple sentence, is a skill that every adult needs. I don’t care if you’re a mechanic, dentist, doctor, journalist, teacher, etc. I don’t care what your profession is, but I do care that you know how to write properly. I don’t expect this because this reflects back on the teachers that a person has had throughout their lifetime. Nope. I care that when you send an email, people are able to understand what you’ve written. I care that when you make a post on social media, you don’t look like you don’t know the difference between your and you’re…remember, potential employees will look at what you’ve posted. I care that when you make a post about political matters, people aren’t distracted by the grammar mistakes instead of focusing on your message.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve read a social media post and have been itching to reach through the computer screen to fix every single grammar error. And this isn’t just because I teach English. I want my students to be able to compose a resume that highlights their skills and what they can bring to either a college or an employer. I don’t want those students to make silly mistakes that will make them look like they’re not taking the application process seriously.
A person does not have to be a writer, or an aspiring writer, to know the keys to writing:
- Know your grammar
- Using the correct punctuation
- Knowing when to be formal/casual in your writing
- Having a clear message
Now I understand that no one is perfect when it comes to the written word. But please make sure to take a look over what you’ve written before you hit that “send” or “post” button. Even though you may not notice your errors, I promise you that it will be the first thing that many people notice. Here are a couple of examples where proofreading should have been the first step before publishing: