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Is Grammar Still Important in the Digital Age?

Abbreviations and emojis are everywhere. No longer do lol's and smiley faces just show up in the text messages and social posts where they were created. They appear to have found their way into emails and other conversations, and while they have received widespread acceptance, not everyone is pleased.

On top of these questionable changes in communications, today's online content is rife with typos and grammatical errors. You will find them in blog posts, social media updates, web pages, email marketing and more.

What does this mean for grammar? Is it still relevant? Do schools still need to teach it? Does it still matter?

What Does Grammar Mean?  

In his ThoughtCo. article, Richard Nordquist refers to David Crystal's explanation in The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language of what grammar means. Crystal writes that it means "being able to talk about what it is we are able to do when we construct sentences — to describe what the rules are, what happens when they fail to apply."

The Assembly of the National Council of Teachers of English digs deeper into the importance of grammar. "People associate grammar with errors and correctness," ATEG says. "But knowing about grammar also helps us understand what makes sentences and paragraphs clear and interesting and precise."

Why Proper Grammar Still Counts

Crystal says that grammar still matters because human beings depend on language for almost everything. Grammar is the foundation of language. It can organize disparate thoughts into coherent sentences.

The use of proper grammar prevents ambiguity and clears up confusion. It solves problems. This is especially true when learning another language. The new language becomes easier to decode when you understand the grammar rules in a language you know well.

Misspellings and grammatical errors can affect a company or a person's brand or reputation. Gaining credibility begins with creating high quality content, free of grammatical mistakes and spelling errors.

Why Everyone Should Use Proper Grammar 

A person applying for a job needs to use correct grammar in cover letters and resumes because these documents represent more than the candidate's work history. Hiring managers may not read past the first grammatical mistake. In interviews, speaking with proper grammar and usage shows professionalism and the ability to communicate clearly. 

Even after being hired, the new employee needs to communicate well in order to succeed in the job. How well or poorly an employee communicates can impact performance, problem-solving and interactions with other employees. 

Though students continue to learn the fundamentals of grammar throughout their school careers, they need to apply grade-level appropriate grammar in all their communications, including their writing and presentations. Teachers put a high value on grammar skills, with students' grades likely to suffer for incorrect usage of the language.

Grammar remains valuable in everyday life. In the professional world, preparing presentations and writing LinkedIn recommendations are two situations where correct grammar is crucial for your messages to have the desired impact. Grammatical errors and spelling mistakes tend to detract from your main message by drawing attention away from it.

While correct grammar and spelling are indispensable in professional settings, they have value on the personal front, too. For instance, the loan process to buy a car or home involves communication and paperwork. Clear concise communication helps all parties stay on the same page and saves time. The ubiquity of social media and the sharing of personal updates presents another avenue for care in communication. Mistakes on social media could cause a post to go viral for the wrong reasons and no one wants that. 

Given the impact of communication on one's personal and professional life, it is worth paying attention to grammar to ensure clarity, accuracy and efficacy. 

Learn more about Louisiana State University Shreveport's online Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction: Reading & Literacy program.


ATEG: Some Questions and Answers About Grammar 

ThoughtCo.: 6 Reasons Why We Should Study English Grammar

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