Do you look and sound as smart as you are?
Surprisingly, even though I’m the Grammar Goddess, I’m not passionate about grammar. Yes, I teach it (the American style), but I’m not passionate about the topic itself. How can anyone get excited about colons, commas, dashes — or quotation marks?
Grammar is a communication tool, one among many, and its structure helps us communicate more precisely than if it didn’t exist. If we had no end marks of punctuation, if we had no capital letters, or if we had no agreed-upon system of spelling, written communication would be really tough. It’s hard enough to understand each other with all these aids; just imagine how it would be without them.
Grammar is just a tool; it’s a means to an end. And as with any tool, it’s important to know how to use it properly.
Why? Because our professional reputation may depend on our ability to look and sound as smart as we are, and if we don’t use all the available tools, we may be seen as lacking. Being seen as smart, not only in our specialty but in general, helps us make a solid first impression . . . and that’s critical because, as we all know, we may not get a second chance.
So what am I passionate about?
Helping business professionals look and sound as smart as they are.
It’s that simple. I want you to shine! I want your readers to see your value clearly and not get put off by simple grammataical errors you’re not aware you’re making.
I want to help fill in the gaps in everyone’s American grammar knowledge that are there because:
1. The last time most of us took a grammar class was likely in eighth or ninth grade. We probably were not paying strict attention because we were too young to know we’d grow up to care. It was one of many topics that to our 13- or 14-year-old minds was useless but necessary if we wanted to graduate from high school (sort of like algebra, which I admit I have never used since).
2. Even if by some miracle we did pay attention, unless we continued to study the rules, we probably lost track of many of them. It’s also possible we misheard or misunderstood what the teachers said, or that a few of the rules have changed (they have), but no one told us.
3. We often base our current “knowledge” on what others say and write, which can cause a problem for us if they’re not experts in grammar. Your mentor may be a fabulous and caring professional, knowing exactly how to help you succeed, and your company’s VP may know more than anyone how to get the best out of social media — but that doesn’t automatically make either of them a grammar expert.
Wrong question to ask: “How smart is she?”
Right question to ask: “How is she smart?”
We are all smart in some things, but no one is smart in everything. If you’re not sure about something related to grammar or usage, visit my website. Find someone who IS a grammar guru or goddess. If you have a question, there’s always an expert waiting to help you.
It’s worth it to be sure, and you’ll keep your reputation as a solid professional intact.
Originally published at medium.com