Do grammar and spelling really matter?
If a recent commercial from Spotify is any indication then it does not. With music playing in the background the viewer looks at a computer monitor and peeks into a strained relationship. We see one person type an apology, then backspace, then type again. And finally he just decides to say it with music and pictures. All through the wonder of Spotify’s wonderful online integration.
The thing that really caught my attention, though, is that they have captured real online communication. It is filled with typos and sloppy grammar, as a generation collectively thumbs our nose at decent communication.
While watching that commercial I thought of a recent article I read by my friend Aaron Armstrong. There he said this:
Christians must—must—be people who communicate clearly and communicate well. This means we should be people who pursue excellence in our use of the written word. We shouldn’t be satisfied with a crass perfunctory approach to writing, treating it purely as a function and not as a skill or an art. We should revel in clever wordplay. We should delight in coherent sentences. We should rejoice in God-honoring grammar.
If Aaron is correct, and I think he is, then we cannot follow our cultural trend of sloppy writing and communication.
There is another point that I would like to add. When we Christian blogggers don’t do the hard work of editing we are failing at serving the readers that God has given us. If you take a shortcut and fail to edit and fail to write clearly then you are making your readers work much harder to read what you have to say. Not only is that going to kill your readership—it’s also not being hospitable.
Mistakes happen. And a typo on a Facebook status isn’t the same as a typo on a dissertation. There is no need to be a grammar Nazi or to get all high and mighty and give someone a verbal lashing because a misspelled word gets through on a Facebook status. Cover that stuff in love. But as a Christian writer it is part of paying my debt of love to write as clearly and mistake free as I can.
Allow me to extend this a bit. This same debt of love is upon you every time you type a status on Facebook, Tweet something, or text something. I understand that our culture is very lax about these forms of communication and it has become almost expected to read things with typos and terrible grammar. I get that. But I also believe that as servants of God we ought to serve people better than this.
Brothers and sisters, let us do the hard thing and be serious about our written communication.