I was flicking through the paper this morning looking for a welcome diversion from the sodden bran flakes before me and came across The Times’ ‘How to be smarter’ series. The lesson on day four was – ‘Grammar for grown ups’. With all you need to know about grammar full stop.
Most of us don’t care about nouns and verbs and have no compunction to search out errant commas and over-excited screamers (exclamation marks!). I mean it’s not like we’re still at school and have to know this stuff, right?
Obviously working in a communications business grammar is the stuff I/we do care about. But on reflection we all work in a communication business, it’s what separates us from the animals. We should all care about it.
In fact, I would hazard a guess that more people write more stuff than ever before with emails, Facebook, Twitter, blogs and texting now a major part of our lives. With that theory in mind there’s probably never been a more prevalent time to dust off a few basic rules, leaving the Queen’s best alone.
I love English, the way it evolves and changes through time and use. Michel Platini (football legend and UEFA president) joked this week that he understood English perfectly when it’s spoken by anyone but the English.
I even love the way texting and Twitter have led people to use their imaginations to shorten words using a mixture of numbers, letters, abbreviations and emoticons. For example – M8, LOL and :D (for the record, I hate LOL but that’s another story).
However, clever wordage can’t replace bad grammar.
Jokes have gone flat (or mistakenly been created), friendships strained and colleagues bamboozled, all because of a confused comma or an absent apostrophe.
So to finish off here are my top three rules to putting grammar back where it belongs… in your messages.
1) LOL doesn’t replace full stops (I told you I hate them).
2) Avoid screamers at all times! It’s just shouting for the sake of it!
3) Happy faces for happy messages good. Sad faces for sad messages are just… well… sad.
Andy Bolter, Creative Director