The Write Way

Think, Thank, Thunk?

Woman writing on padIn June, the Wall Street Journal published a column by Sue Shellenbarger that addresses one of the hottest topics in business today: Does grammar matter anymore? Shellenbarger says managers are fighting a losing battle against poor grammar, slang, and downright bad writing. She references a 2012 survey of 430 employers, 45 percent of whom said that they "were increasing employee-training programs to improve employees' grammar and other skills."

In response to the article, Steve Tobak of CBS News offered a virtual eye roll.

"Business writing is about clarity in communication, not following obscure rules," Tobak says.

So, does grammar matter? And what’s more important in effective writing, the means or the message?

Finding the balance
Successful companies know that both the meaning and the form of content matter. The rules of English writing are tools to enhance content's readability and make sure readers understand the intended meaning.

Understanding grammar also helps writers be sure they are communicating their meaning clearly. The National Council of Teachers of English explains, "Knowing about grammar also helps us understand what makes sentences and paragraphs clear and interesting and precise." For most writers, knowing why they are constructing writing in a certain way helps them produce consistently better results.

Thus, grammar creates a common interface that ensures both readers and writers are communicating clearly. So even a few basic spelling errors or typos in a letter, journal article, or business report can throw the author’s credibility into question. After all, if the writer can't determine the difference between "you're" and "your," how can he/she be trusted to correctly report complex data?

But grammar doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Understanding grammar is just one aspect of good writing. Without a deeper understanding of how to relate content for a specific audience, subject matter, and medium, even grammatically correct pieces come out sounding stuffy, fluffy, or dull.

Phillip Khan-Panni, CEO of PKP Communicators, cautions writers this way: "Good impressions are hard to create, and poor impressions are very hard to eradicate."

Tools for success
Giving your team the tools they need to improve writing skills is essential for success. The fastest, most efficient way to help employees grasp the balance of good grammar and precise content is through a writing course, either online or onsite. A quality writing course

Hurley Write, Inc. offers business, scientific, and technical writing courses that incorporate all these requirements. Courses are tailored to a company's specific needs and can be delivered online (via webinar or individual course) or onsite.

A strong writing process supports writers in many ways. At its most basic level, it makes them confident that their meaning is clear and that the finished product is polished and professional. Good grammar will only get your employees so far; a writing course can take them to the next level.

Teaching your team to use a sound writing process is crucial to the success of your business. Hurley Write can teach your employees to write stellar content. Email us or call us toll-free at 877-24-WRITE (877-249-7483).

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