Does Spelling And Grammar Matter?

By Phoebe Grealy
20th May 2016

Does Spelling And Grammar Matter?

Do you know the difference between your and you’re? Do you secretly judge people who can’t get their there and they’re straight? Or are apostrophes, commas and semi-colons your secret hell and you think relax, people, you know what I mean!

With memes galore on the topic and a whole lot of debate going on in The Urban List office, we have to ask: in the age of texting, spell check and 140 characters, does spelling and grammar really matter?

Yes. Because, civilisation.

Argued by Jessica Pridmore

Being a slave to predictive text and spell check is making us lazy, says resident Urban List writer, Jessica. In a bid to save the world from itself, one grammatically correct Instagram post at a time, she’s taking on her boss (um, awkward) to prove once and for all, good grammar is king.

Here are 5 pretty compelling reasons why we should all be brushing up on our grammatical skillset:

  1. You didn’t see the writing legends of this world—William Shakespeare, Rudyard Kipling, Charlotte Bronte, Roald freaking Dahl!— play fast and loose with universal grammar rules, so what gives us regular joes the right? Bow down.
  2. Reading an email from professional peers littered with mistakes like ‘to’ instead of ‘too’ begs the question; ‘did you even go to school?’
  3. We spend nearly twenty years in compulsory education learning how to read, write, spell and form sentences correctly to perform as capable humans in adulthood. A total waste of time then?
  4. “Bad writing makes bright people look dumb,” said acclaimed writer William Zissner. Harsh, but pretty on the money.
  5. In contrast, good grammar makes you more attractive, claims a survey conducted by The Wall Street Journal. Grammatical correctness = good for your sex life. WIN!

No. Relaaaaax.

Argued by Phoebe Grealy

In a shock revelation, The Urban List’s Brisbane Editor Phoebe, who corrects spelling and grammar for a living, is a reformed grammar-Nazi. Even though she studied English at university, the odd mistake doesn’t ruin her day. Just don’t spell her name wrong. It’s Phoebe. Not Pheobe.

Here are 5 little reasons why we can all just relax about perfect prose and punctuation:

  1. Does pointing out all the spelling errors on a restaurant menu make the food taste more delicious? No? So, zip it smarty-pants.
  2. Einstein was dyslexic and prone to the odd spelling error. Does that make him less of a genius?
  3. James Joyce managed to write Ulysses without any punctuation. Sure, no one actually gets it, but everyone agrees it’s a masterpiece. #pioneer
  4. Does anyone LIKE being corrected? According to science, people who correct typos are jerks. Do you want to be a jerk?
  5. Lastly, spelling and grammatical errors make for some funny times. The famous grammar book Eats, Shoots & Leaves was inspired by someone who put a comma in the wrong spot when writing about pandas: it’s a lot funnier imagining a panda with an Uzi, than one simply eating bamboo shoots. Belly laughs over perfection, always.

What do you think? 

Image credit: Gabrielle Stjernqvist

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