Recently, Dictionary.com ran an interesting article titled, “Does Grammar Matter in the Workplace?” nondual teachers, who wrote an article called “I Won’t Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar” in the “Harvard Business Review.” Wiens states, “I’ve found that people who make fewer mistakes on a grammar test also make fewer mistakes when they are doing something completely unrelated to writing-like stocking shelves or labeling parts.” In response, John McWhorter argued in a “New York Times” essay that grammar is not indicative of intelligence or attention to detail, and in many professions, is not an essential skill.
While, of course, grammar matters more in jobs related to writing than in other jobs, such as a factory assembly line, I beg to differ that grammar has nothing to do with attention to detail. As a book reviewer, I have seen countless poorly written books in which the grammar is atrocious. I have also seen many of these books completely lacking in any sort of attention to detail.
The world now has countless aspiring authors and over a million books are published every year. If an author is going to compete against all the other authors to make his or her book stand out, having a well-written book with proper grammar, and having it proofread meticulously, is going to make a huge difference.
Believe it or not, even among authors, bad grammar exists. Traditionally published books tend to be better than many self-published books because publishers have editors to fix grammar, spelling, and other errors. But not all publishers, editors, or authors are of the same caliber, regardless of whether the book is traditionally or independently published. And many an intelligent self-published author knows enough to have his book edited and proofread to avoid errors.
I see certain grammatical mistakes being made across the board in books; frequently, I find split infinitives in books produced even by major publishing houses. The best known example of a split infinitive comes from the television show “Star Trek” in its famous opening “to boldly go.” Here, “to go” is the infinitive of the verb, so it should not be split, although people frequently insert adverbs into the infinitive, thereby splitting it). I also frequently see subject-pronoun agreement issues. For example, “Everyone should decide what they want for lunch before they get to the deli counter.” In this case, “everyone” is singular so the pronouns should also be singular. Instead of “they” should be used “he,” “she,” or “he or she.” Or “everyone” should be replaced with a plural word like “people” that will then match with the plural pronoun “they.”
As I said, such errors are frequent even in traditionally published books, and well-educated people still constantly make these errors. Many people who complain about bad grammar won’t even recognize that these examples are bad grammar. I was amused in reading the article at Dictionary.com that among the comments readers made-both from those who felt grammar does matter in the workplace, and those who didn’t agree-many were filled with bad grammar, and at least one person pointed this fact out in her comment.