Kyle Wiens is CEO of iFixit, which is a very cool website. Just imagine if Wikipedia was only for repair manuals.
He recently contributed a piece to the Harvard Business Review that had me jumping up and cheering. I would give him a hug but I don’t even know him – so I’ll just hand him a banana.
The title of Kyle’s contribution is, “I won’t hire people who use poor grammar. Here’s why.” Huh? What does that have to do with getting a job? The first paragraph pretty much sums it up.
If you think an apostrophe was one of the 12 disciples of Jesus, you will never work for me. If you think a semicolon is a regular colon with an identity crisis, I will not hire you. If you scatter commas into a sentence with all the discrimination of a shotgun, you might make it to the foyer before we politely escort you from the building.
Now, before you decide that Mr. Wiens is some kind of Grammar Nazi – and you would have to place me as one of his chief lieutenants – give us both the opportunity to explain our stance on the subject.
Good grammar is necessary in order to successfully communicate to others. Good grammar equates to credibility. Kyle Wiens puts it most eloquently:
Grammar signifies more than just a person’s ability to remember high school English. 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.
If I am reading a post on Facebook or Twitter and I see that someone has pluralized a word by slamming on a apostrophe and then the letter S, I cannot read any further. Not even my own mother is spared.
Yes, there is the argument that you only have a limited amount of characters when crafting a text or Twitter message – don’t try that argument on me. Grammar shouldn’t be sacrificed for brevity.
It simply makes it necessary to be concise.
So sayeth the StickMonkey.