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In age of Twitter and texting, workplace grammar slipping fast

June 21, 2012

As old rules of usage erode, employee grammar skills are getting worse, a recent survey says. Managers blame the informality of email, texting and Twitter, where slang and shortcuts prevail, The Wall Street Journal reports. This looseness with language can cause communication errors, ruin marketing materials and leave bad impressions with clients, managers say.

“Twenty-five years ago it was impossible to put your hands on something that hadn’t been professionally copyedited,” says Bryan A. Garner, author of the book "Garner’s Modern American Usage" and president of LawProse, a Dallas-based consulting firm. “Today, it is actually hard to put your hands on something that has been professionally copyedited.”

In the survey from the Society for Human Resource Management and the AARP, most participants blamed younger workers for the decline in grammar skills. But Tamara Erickson, an author and consultant on generational issues, argues that 20- and 30-somethings who are accustomed to texting and social networking have simply “developed a new norm.” At RescueTime, a Seattle-based maker of personal-productivity software, sincerity clearly expressed in 140 characters or less is considered good communication. Says the company’s 38-year-old vice president Jason Grimes, “Those who can be sincere, and still text and Twitter and communicate on Facebook … are the ones who are going to succeed.” Greg Beaubien


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