Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What's that you say about grammar not being important any more?

This just in from the Eastern language front: Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit and founder of Dozuki:
“I am a grammar “stickler.” I have a “zero tolerance approach” to grammar mistakes that make people look stupid. Everyone who applies for a position at either of my companies, iFixit or Dozuki, takes a mandatory grammar test. If job hopefuls can’t distinguish between “to” and “too,” their applications go into the bin. Yes, language is constantly changing, but that doesn’t make grammar unimportant. Good grammar is credibility, especially on the internet. In blog posts, on Facebook statuses, in e-mails, and on company websites, your words are all you have. They are a projection of you in your physical absence. And, for better or worse, people judge you if you can’t tell the difference between their, there, and they’re.
Oh, and try making a mistake--I mean the least little typo--on an application for a legal internship.

2 comments:

Thomas E. Vaughan said...

I am not confident about my analysis below, but I think that one of the words in the title of your post should be in the possessive case rather than in the objective case.

Wouldn't a better title be, "What's that you say about grammar's not being important any more?"

The main point is not so much what is said of grammar as what is said of its not being important.

Also, there appears flatly to be a grammatical error in the juxtaposition of two noun phrases, "grammar" and "not being important any more". They are not properly in apposition. A preposition takes just one object. A compound object, like "grammar and not being important any more" wouldn't work because of the lack of parallelism.

George Forman said...

Many of us have complained about poor English in product manuals, especially when we can't understand or can't easily understand what we're trying to read about. So we do value these skills, as consumers. I think he's made a fine business decision. A quick, objective grammar test is a fine way to help screen the oceans of applicants. It's probably automated on a computer. It's much harder to grade a free-form writing sample.

But can you believe the vitriol this has stirred up in all its comments?