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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Is Our Children Learning Enough Grammar to Get Hired? - Room for Debate - NYTimes.com

This New York Times feature article follows up on a recent news item about a business executive who won't hire anyone to work for him if the person fails a grammar test:
“Grammar is my litmus test,” the C.E.O. of iFixit wrote recently in the Harvard Business Review. “If job hopefuls can’t distinguish between ‘to’ and ‘too,’ their applications go into the bin.”
The "debate" at this website features statements by five people--three authors, an English professor and a business consultant. The article asks:
Are schools undervaluing grammar, given that employers may rule out applicants with sloppy writing? Or are these employers being old-fashioned and missing out on some qualified candidates?
Summarized, here are the various points of view:
Even a poorly constructed tweet reflects a poorly constructed thought. Without command of grammar, one can't even truly read, much less write.

After we pat ourselves on the back for upholding grammar standards, can we really justify barring someone from a job because he flubbed “your” and “you’re”?

Some public schools teach that grammar is unimportant compared with “expressing yourself.” But people are judged every day on their grammar.

For younger generations, the content of the message is far more important than the structure. Employers have to ask: Does this represent shortcomings in skills and know-how?

A weak writer is not necessarily a weak reader, and the applicant whose writing seems halting may be fully fluent in other areas, like visual media or social skills.

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