But before we get into that, some people have criticized me for being a "grammar nazi" and ask me why I care so much. Well, I care so much because it matters. As a society I think we are devolving. If we needed any more evidence that without some manner of outside intervention things go from order to disorder, and not the other way around, look no further than the barren landscape of competent writing skills that is our incoming college freshmen.
Thirty percent of incoming Freshmen at the University of Waterloo in Ontario fail to pass a basic English competency test. For any of you who failed to pass a basic math competency test, that is nearly one in every 3 incoming college students. It used to be that when you'd take an advanced class, the professor would say: "Look to your right and left, one of you will fail". Now they just tell kids at Freshmen orientation: "Look to your right and left, one of you doesn't possess the English skills of a 6th grader". And these are the ones who decided that education was important enough to continue on past what the government required of them! These are the leaders of tomorrow. The people in whom my future will be dependent upon.
So rather than just complain and do nothing I offer the following guidelines:
- Nothing you learned at the "Derek Zoolander Center For Children Who Can't Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too" is likely to be applicable in the real world. I'm just saying.
- There are no conjunctions that I am aware of that end in "z". This includes "cuz" and "becuz". I assure you, those are not real words.
- Numbers are not words. Numbers combined with letters are not words. "B4" and "U2" are a plane and a band respectively; not actual words.
- Punctuation is meant to be used as such. It is not clip-art. If you turn in a paper using it as clip-art, you will likely be ridiculed.
- Lack of Subject/Verb agreement will make you sound like a buffoon every time. "The instructions is confusion" is not an excuse.
- Watch your participles. Generally, if something happened in the past, you want to -ed it. "I watch TV all night last night", while hilarious, is just wrong on so many levels.
- Pronoun errors. "Everyone needs to bring their own brain to the conversation" is wrong. If everyone brought his or her own brain to the conversation, they would likely understand why.