Watch Out for the Grammar Mines!

11 May

grammar

Watch out for the poor use of grammar. Just recently, while I was coaching a young, very successful manager who has great potential, I heard him say, “between him and I” rather than “between him and me.” The misuse of “him and I” is, sadly, not an uncommon occurrence these days. Or what about those who say “often” by pronouncing a hard “t” instead of keeping it silent? Or how about something that might stand out a little more like, “We shoulda went that way….”

Now you might think, “Not a big deal.” After all we hear those in the media making the same mistakes. I know, I know, language evolves and what becomes popular might rightfully become the new and acceptable norm. But, just because others whom we may admire use poor grammar doesn’t make it right for you in your environment where it might just effect your career. You might say, “I never hear anyone correcting anyone’s grammar. That would be rude.” Well, keep in mind, Bud, that just because no one says anything doesn’t mean someone using sloppy grammar is getting away with it. Just as you think, others may not want to appear rude, but, they nevertheless, remain aware.

If you want to aspire in your career, avoid using poor grammar when mingling with top executives who are, generally speaking, well-educated and silently well aware of the improper use of the English language; guaranteed they will spot it and make a mental note when they hear it. Unless you are some kind of genius, or have a rare talent that’s in demand, the executives I’ve worked with will interpret the poor use of grammar as a sign of your “not being ready for prime time” when it comes to key customers and those who really matter.

Few but your closest career allies will let you know when you’ve stepped on a grammar mine – so watch out! Your image could be at risk.

Deb Bright, Ed.D., is founder and president of Bright Enterprises, Inc., a consulting firm devoted to enhancing performance. Her roster of clients includes Raytheon, Marriott, Disney, GE, Chase, Morgan Stanley, and other premier organizations. She is also a best-selling author. Her newest book is entitled The Truth Doesn’t Have to Hurt: How to Use Criticism to Strengthen Relationships, Improve Performance, and Promote Change (AMACOM Books).

 

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