Grammar and Its (It’s?) Importance

Liz Meyer - nytimes.com

Liz Meyer – nytimes.com

Recently, Technapex posted an article on the decline of students’ grammar skills as a result of texting, in which I hopped on my grammar high horse and ranted about the sorry state of the grammar in schools today.

Grammar has been making headlines this summer, surprisingly enough, so much so that The New York Times has set up a Room for Debate discussion on the importance of grammar in schools and the workplace. So today, we present a counterargument to strict adherence to grammar rules by linguist and author John McWhorter, who maintains that grammar skills shouldn’t be the determining factor in hiring workers:

“Anyone concerned about applicants’ grammar is probably dismayed at the state of public education today, and understands that the people most poorly served by this system find it increasingly challenging to find work providing a living wage or upward mobility, much less satisfaction. After we pat ourselves on the back for upholding grammar standards, how many of us can really justify barring someone from a decent job because he or she isn’t always clear on the difference between “your” and “you’re”? Especially when it’s more likely the fault of the individual’s education than laziness?”

McWhorter isn’t alone — linguist Susan Sotillo at Montclair State University is currently working on a separate study to prove that students who regularly switch between texting language and standard language are actually more likely to have an expanded vocabulary. “No one is destroying the English language; the English language just keeps changing,” says Sotillo. “It’s not a good idea to present change as a negative aspect.”

We here at Technapex will certainly keep an eye out for the results of that study. In the meantime, I’ll still be reading Strunk and White, but I suppose I’ll try to be a little nicer to you if you mix up “your” and “you’re” in the comments below.

Caity Doyle

Caity is a former English teacher and the editor of Technapex. Caity is extremely passionate about education and is TriplePoint PR's resident edtech expert. When not researching education policy and edtech, she enjoys running along the Bay Trail while blaring the Boss through her headphones, watching the Giants beat the Dodgers, and meeting fellow Italians in North Beach.

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About Caity Doyle

Caity is a former English teacher and the editor of Technapex. Caity is extremely passionate about education and is TriplePoint PR's resident edtech expert. When not researching education policy and edtech, she enjoys running along the Bay Trail while blaring the Boss through her headphones, watching the Giants beat the Dodgers, and meeting fellow Italians in North Beach.