WSJ Article: "This Embarrasses You and I*"

A frontpage article in The Wall Street Journal discusses "rampant illiteracy" within the workplace:  

"Managers are fighting an epidemic of grammar gaffes in the workplace. Many of them attribute slipping skills to the informality of email, texting and Twitter where slang and shortcuts are common. Such looseness with language can create bad impressions with clients, ruin marketing materials and cause communications errors, many managers say.

"There's no easy fix. Some bosses and co-workers step in to correct mistakes, while others consult business-grammar guides for help. In a survey conducted earlier this year, about 45% of 430 employers said they were increasing employee-training programs to improve employees' grammar and other skills, according to the Society for Human Resource Management and AARP."

An interactive quiz focuses on common errors in grammar and punctuation.

WSJ grammar
Students of business communication will recognize many of the errors highlighted in the article, for example, improper subject-verb agreement (e.g., "There's new people you should meet") and incorrect pronoun use (e.g., "...for John and I").

Participants in a Society for Human Resources Management-AARP study blame young people. A consultant interviewed for the article said it's not that young workers lack the skills but that they have "developed a new norm" for communicating, including less formal language.

Discussion Starters:

  • Do you agree with the article's assessment that lack of proper grammar at work is a serious issue? Why or why not?
  • Take the WSJ interactive quiz. How did you do?