Geeks Need Grammar too

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A question was asked recently that stopped me in my tracks. The question was,

“Why is grammar and spelling important on the Internet? I can understand if you’re writing a paper for school, but on forums and boards, I never bother”.

What? I thought one of the reasons we were taught grammar and spelling in school was so that every sentence we wrote, whether online, in a paper, or a letter to our grandmother, would be clear and understandable. This means not only correct spelling and grammar, but the ability to convey one’s idea or question so it can be understood. In my opinion, writing correctly when online is more important, not less so, and I can give several reasons why.

From a staff standpoint, we have an obligation to represent this board in a professional manner. Since ALL of our communication is in writing, it makes it doubly important that what we write is clear and concise. We are giving instructions to people on how to fix or clean their computers. Poorly written instructions, the use of the wrong word, and a lack of clarity could have disastrous results if it leads to one of our members performing a task incorrectly and damaging their computer.

On the flip side, I’ve seen people start threads asking for help, and their post is so grammatically incorrect and poorly spelled (or uses chatspeak – shudder) that I can’t even figure out what they’re asking. It can take a tremendous effort sometimes to get the correct information in those cases. An example of what drives me crazy:

“dis morning I turned on my puter and it mad e dis beep and then I got a blue screne n then it resarded and it let me log on n then i downloded sum torrents n now its slow and i gettin popupsp and I rlly nede it 4 scool cuz I hav a papeer i hav to rite and its my dads puter and whatdo I do becuz its not working and this sight said your going to help me what do i do pleez!”

There are several things we don’t get from online or written communication. The first of these is visual and audio cues. We have to rely on the written word only. In face-to-face communication, we get facial expressions, body language, and the tone of voice to help us understand the speaker. The second thing we miss in online communication is the ability to get immediate feedback, whether it’s the answer to a question or a request for additional information. If your writing is clear, concise, and understandable, this is not an issue; if, however, you’re unable to express yourself properly, you’ve slowed down the communication process, and you can even bring it to a halt.

It’s said that you only get one chance to make a first impression. Online, that first impression is made with the written word. What do you want yours to be?

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  • Epics

    I think its more of the spelling "Nazis" the person was writing about. Some people make it a religion and base their entire lives around writing well online. That I think is just taking it too far...

  • Epics

    I think its more of the spelling "Nazis" the person was writing about. Some people make it a religion and base their entire lives around writing well online. That I think is just taking it too far...

  • Devgru

    I completely agree. If you're going to communicate over the internet, ask for help, or whatever else over the internet, you need to at least have some form to your writing. Spell checkers are integrated in most browsers now-a-days, so mis-spelling the simplest words is not an excuse.

    However, I do joke around in "netspeak" sometimes, as tongue-in-cheek humor with friends, to sort of jab fun at the laziness that is netspeak, which you could say what a lot of internet memes do, such as in your news article image macro.

  • Devgru

    I completely agree. If you're going to communicate over the internet, ask for help, or whatever else over the internet, you need to at least have some form to your writing. Spell checkers are integrated in most browsers now-a-days, so mis-spelling the simplest words is not an excuse.

    However, I do joke around in "netspeak" sometimes, as tongue-in-cheek humor with friends, to sort of jab fun at the laziness that is netspeak, which you could say what a lot of internet memes do, such as in your news article image macro.

  • joe

    Well for some of us who don't have the education because of various reasons why doesn’t someone develop grammar- spelling software that can be used? Like even a spell check in the forums is start.

  • joe

    Well for some of us who don't have the education because of various reasons why doesn’t someone develop grammar- spelling software that can be used? Like even a spell check in the forums is start.

  • Extract

    I agree with Joe slightly. It is not the forum's job to implement a spell check though but rather the persons' job. Browsers come with this or if not check for and alternative software that's compatible with your browser that is capable of doing the same thing. There has to be something out there. But just like the laziness in spelling people refuse to go on google.

  • Extract

    I agree with Joe slightly. It is not the forum's job to implement a spell check though but rather the persons' job. Browsers come with this or if not check for and alternative software that's compatible with your browser that is capable of doing the same thing. There has to be something out there. But just like the laziness in spelling people refuse to go on google.

  • Blair

    Everyone should use a spell checker with their browser. Here are some free options:
    ieSpell (free for Internet Explorer) - http://www.iespell.com/
    FireFox (has a built-in spell check) - http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/
    Google Toolbar (built in spell check) - http://toolbar.google.com

    I don't know of any grammar checkers, but usually taking a little time while writing, and quick preview or proofread before posting is all that's required.

  • Jesse

    Well, maybe if people who are uneducated took a little time to educate themselves instead of making excuses for their ignorance we'd have less problems like this. You don't need to go to school to learn how to write. There are plenty of FREE resources out there to help you with your grammar and spelling problems.

  • Jesse

    Well, maybe if people who are uneducated took a little time to educate themselves instead of making excuses for their ignorance we'd have less problems like this. You don't need to go to school to learn how to write. There are plenty of FREE resources out there to help you with your grammar and spelling problems.

  • Hludwig

    Maybe english isn't their main language. Plus it does takes a long time to learn a langauge. Even for someone who's able to learn at a natural speed. I'm dyslexic myself and even the proper grammer and spelling sometimes confuses me.

    Also in the artical, that example that was provided sounded like a little kid. How can you tell a child to learn spelling and grammer before asking for help? They are still in the learning process.

    Then you have soo many problems in the language itself, then different versions, countries and areas may spell it different or say it in a different way.

    This sort of thing on the internet won't ever go away. Or unless the world was on a language without problems and kids or uneducated may not use the forums or blogs.

    Guess that's all I got to say, and hopfully you all understood that. 😛

  • Hludwig

    Maybe english isn't their main language. Plus it does takes a long time to learn a langauge. Even for someone who's able to learn at a natural speed. I'm dyslexic myself and even the proper grammer and spelling sometimes confuses me.

    Also in the artical, that example that was provided sounded like a little kid. How can you tell a child to learn spelling and grammer before asking for help? They are still in the learning process.

    Then you have soo many problems in the language itself, then different versions, countries and areas may spell it different or say it in a different way.

    This sort of thing on the internet won't ever go away. Or unless the world was on a language without problems and kids or uneducated may not use the forums or blogs.

    Guess that's all I got to say, and hopfully you all understood that. 😛

  • samson

    Thank you. Someone knows how to speak.

  • samson

    Thank you. Someone knows how to speak.

  • O yes i am all four spellcheck. after all, if you don spell correctly, how is any body going to no what your saving? And ass four grammar, it is impotent two halve your sentences in proper construction so that pebble can follow your logic.

    Correct spelling an grammar is knot only for writing papers in school. i mean, what is the point of learning how too rite properly if not so that we well communicate will in the reel whirl? ha?

    See, i used spell check on this command, and i'm proud to say that every word has bin spelled correctly.

  • O yes i am all four spellcheck. after all, if you don spell correctly, how is any body going to no what your saving? And ass four grammar, it is impotent two halve your sentences in proper construction so that pebble can follow your logic.

    Correct spelling an grammar is knot only for writing papers in school. i mean, what is the point of learning how too rite properly if not so that we well communicate will in the reel whirl? ha?

    See, i used spell check on this command, and i'm proud to say that every word has bin spelled correctly.

  • I too, agree with most all of what "Hludwig" {above} had said. That being said let me relay a story...

    I had just contacted my sister, after not hearing, nor talking to her in very many years. This contact with her was via emails. We were, and are trying to patch things between us, up. We both had done an admirable job, working for the common good. That is until I decided to my have a bit of fun in writing to her. Not to be condescending in any way, just having a bit of merriment, to see what outrageous terminologies that could possibly be utilized. I used everything form Shakespearian grammar, to Kings James Version English. This I did with a fair amount of lightheartedness, and love. I attempted to explain this to her in this matter. This, to which, she did not comprehend the slightest meaning, of my sibling love, I was trying to convey, and even thought that I was calling her names, and making fun of her.

    What’s all of this has to do with the subject? If you’re going to write/type anything, be as clear as you can, and communicate on the level of which your audience is capable of. Even if you are dyslexic, as I am, you can still communicate with others in an intelligent way, if you want to.

  • I too, agree with most all of what "Hludwig" {above} had said. That being said let me relay a story...

    I had just contacted my sister, after not hearing, nor talking to her in very many years. This contact with her was via emails. We were, and are trying to patch things between us, up. We both had done an admirable job, working for the common good. That is until I decided to my have a bit of fun in writing to her. Not to be condescending in any way, just having a bit of merriment, to see what outrageous terminologies that could possibly be utilized. I used everything form Shakespearian grammar, to Kings James Version English. This I did with a fair amount of lightheartedness, and love. I attempted to explain this to her in this matter. This, to which, she did not comprehend the slightest meaning, of my sibling love, I was trying to convey, and even thought that I was calling her names, and making fun of her.

    What’s all of this has to do with the subject? If you’re going to write/type anything, be as clear as you can, and communicate on the level of which your audience is capable of. Even if you are dyslexic, as I am, you can still communicate with others in an intelligent way, if you want to.