When one thinks of a proofreader, their automatic inclination is someone who sits at a desk all day, looking for mistakes in grammar, spelling and punctuation. Some would think that the job of a proofreader is something that basically anybody could do. While this is somewhat true, it is hardly easy to analyse and examine thousands and thousands of words of English text all day while maintaining a high level of focus and patience. This also includes the need for an exceptional grasp of the English language.
With social media now having taken over the world along with various texting apps which millions of people are using more and more during their day to day activities, it’s no surprise that our use and command of the English language has taken a bit of a hit, especially with the newer generation coming up who are immediately exposed to short-form text language before having actually mastered proper English in school.
Gone are the days when we would write long-form proper English like “How are you?” or “What are you doing tonight”. Nowadays we would much prefer to write “How r u?” or “Wht r u dng tnite?” This is largely a result of the fast-paced world that we live in, our lack of time, and our habit of becoming bored quickly. We now feel it’s better to get the point across as quickly as possible, no matter if our English breaks every rule in the book of grammar, spelling and punctuation.
Not only have kids aborted spelling and grammar altogether, even the most well-educated professionals have decided that it’s more important to take the shortcut approach. So when is it most important to be able to use proper concise English? Quite clearly when people need to write an extremely impressive resume and cover letter or thesis.
Regardless of how we approach the English language and proper use of grammar and everything else, we can be assured that the grammar police will be there to educate us if we mess up enough times. So who are the grammar police or, as some would refer to these individuals as Grammar Nazi?
The grammar police are everywhere but can be found in our own friend circle on social media, forums, or in the user comments of blogs and videos. While they are not considered the most likeable personalities on the world wide web, they do provide free instruction which can be helpful to us should we want to have our own children knowing the difference between “Your” and “You’re”.
Mistakes like this can be given a pass in the cyber-world, although in the real world when it comes to examinations, thesis papers, and job applications, it’s simply a no go.
On the other hand, many grammar geeks tend to be unable to sometimes see the forest for the trees. While so hell bent on correcting grammar, they may miss the point of the post entirely. Often this may cause distress when a grammar geek would prefer to analyse the grammar in a poem instead of actually trying to understand the purpose of the poem.
This is perhaps why many times people who spend more of their time hitting the books are less likely to mingle with the party-goers. While the grammar police are sometimes appreciated, there can be trouble when they take it too far in situations where it’s not needed.
But what’s most important is knowing when to befriend a member of the grammar police. Just be sure you have one nearby when you’re in a position of competing with a few hundred other job applicants when trying to woo the HR manager with a phenomenal cover letter. At one time or another, we all will need to bring out our very best English when it really counts.