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How to Easily Embarrass Yourself and Consistently Lower Your Social and Professional Standing

Updated on January 3, 2012

Nobody uses perfect grammar (or should it be “No one”?) Except in technical writing or public or professional speaking, nobody really notices or cares about the finer points of correct syntax construction. Nobody, that is, except for pedantic pains-in-the-neck. However, bad basic grammar will catch a listener’s ear exactly the same way a swear word will when it comes out of a minister’s mouth. There is no more common way to lower your social or professional status than by speaking like a middle-school dropout, and there is no easier way to improve it than by learning just a few simple rules.

The trick, though, is getting people to understand and adopt this concept. If you happen to have loved ones or workmates who have college degrees but habitually form sentences the way Tarzan does, you know what I mean. You can’t live someone else’s life for them, and sometimes it can be incredibly difficult to get your well-intentioned point past their defenses. Using the idea of “it ain’t what you say but how you say it,” you might want to use your kitchen refrigerator (not theirs!) or the workplace bulletin board to post something like this:

How to Easily Embarrass Yourself and Consistently Lower Your Social and Professional Standing

Using Proper Grammar And Precise Language

Why
Why Not
It implicitly reminds ourselves, our children, and other people that we are not mediocre people, and that we will not live mediocre lives, and that we are bound for a life of ability, competence, and bounty.
I am not a hidden gold nugget or a diamond in the rough; it is no use to polish me because I am nothing special and will never amount to much.
Nothing consistently projects your true self more than your words; they are the actions of your mind. A person in shabby clothes with good words can sway a crowd, but a person with fancy clothes and clumsy words will lose the crowd. Fair or not, this applies to us.
I am not a hidden gold nugget or a diamond in the rough; it is no use to polish me because I am nothing special and will never amount to much.
Learning to speak precisely fosters learning to think accurately, and this helps not only mentally but also emotionally and socially. Articulating our thoughts and feelings will help us and others know our true selves and will enable us to elicit the most positive reactions from others. Consciously or not, others will evaluate our competency by how we speak.
I am not a hidden gold nugget or a diamond in the rough; it is no use to polish me because I am nothing special and will never amount to much.
It implicitly reminds ourselves, our children, and other people that if we want to have more choices tomorrow, we must lay the groundwork by developing every advantage today.
I am not a hidden gold nugget or a diamond in the rough; it is no use to polish me because I am nothing special and will never amount to much.
It subconsciously supports the belief that we are alive and evolving, that we can be more tomorrow than what we were yesterday.
I am like Popeye: I y’am what I y’am, an’ there just ain’t no use trying to be anything better or different.I am not a hidden gold nugget or a diamond in the rough; it is no use to polish me because I am nothing special and will never amount to much.
It teaches our children the habit of self-improvement, and it gives adults practice at it.
I am not a hidden gold nugget or a diamond in the rough; it is no use to polish me because I am nothing special and will never amount to much.
Gaining knowledge of anything and competency at anything helps build self-esteem and confidence.
I am not a hidden gold nugget or a diamond in the rough; it is no use to polish me because I am nothing special and will never amount to much.
It teaches our children the habit of self-discipline, and it gives adults practice at it.
It takes effort to learn something useful. It takes effort to break an unhelpful habit. Why bother? I am not a hidden gold nugget or a diamond in the rough; it is no use to polish me because I am nothing special and will never amount to much.
Understanding a few simple rules of grammar allows us to recognize their use and misuse by others, which gives us an indication of how disciplined their thinking is, thereby allowing us to make a more informed decision of whether to participate in their plans or have trust in their opinions. This is especially relevant at work, both in getting a job and progressing with it – why should an employer trust you to be responsible for the details of your job if you demonstrate that you cannot learn and use a few basic rules of common speech? Why should an employer trust you with representing his business if you don’t care about how you represent yourself?
I am not a hidden gold nugget or a diamond in the rough; it is no use to polish me because I am nothing special and will never amount to much.
The use of correct grammar can be turned off to play or to fit in a social group, but knowing correct grammar can not be turned on either in times of stress or unguarded relaxation. Stress and relaxation will occur in our lives, and it is necessary – or at least prudent - to avoid calling unwanted attention to ourselves in professional or social settings. Bad grammar catches the ear just like swear words in a church. The use of proper grammar must be habit.
I am not a hidden gold nugget or a diamond in the rough; it is no use to polish me because I am nothing special and will never amount to much.
It gives us one less thing to worry about or to attend to in the future, when job interviews or work or helping our children will demand our best skills, focus, and energy. Children learn what they live, so teaching them a few grammar rules will relieve them of countless subtle burdens for the rest of their lives.
I am not a hidden gold nugget or a diamond in the rough; it is no use to polish me because I am nothing special and will never amount to much.
It gives teenagers one less reason to be embarrassed by and ashamed of their parents.
I am not a hidden gold nugget or a diamond in the rough; it is no use to polish me because I am nothing special and will never amount to much.
It implicitly reminds ourselves, our children, and other people that we expect to do well, to do better than mediocre, to do the best we can do at everything we do.
I am not a hidden gold nugget or a diamond in the rough; it is no use to polish me because I am nothing special and will never amount to much.

If this isn’t met with derision, you may want to offer the Rules of Basic Grammar.

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    • ytsenoh profile image

      Cathy 5 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

      ytsenoh is something I chose because I like to make people think. It is a word spelled backwards and is representative of what people will get from me in the kindest of ways....honesty...thanks for catching that, good to know you're thinking too!

    • Windclimber profile image
      Author

      Windclimber 5 years ago from my boat somewhere on the Chesapeake Bay

      Thank you, ytsenoh! Yes, we don't always get credit for perfect grammar or spelling, but often enough we certainly do get demerits for bad grammar or spelling!

      btw, is "ytsenoh" "backwards honesty"? What do dat mean?

    • ytsenoh profile image

      Cathy 5 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

      Excellent hub. Thumbs up. I say believe in what you say and others will believe you; however, even believing in what you say, if you try to articulate it in language nobody understands, they won't be able to believe you because they won't understand anything you said at all. Hope that doesn't sound too muddy. If you want to be a writer, you study the craft (which includes lots of reading), you polish your grammar, shine sentence structures and stop cruising between every other word with a comma. Even if you don't have a college education, you can self-teach yourself so very many things, seriously.

    • Windclimber profile image
      Author

      Windclimber 5 years ago from my boat somewhere on the Chesapeake Bay

      Nancy Owens, thank you! But "humbled" by my "vast knowledge"? Wow - either you flatter me, or you need to get out more! :)

    • Nancy Owens profile image

      Nancy Owens 5 years ago from USA

      I agree that using proper grammar is important. I am humbled by your vast knowledge in this subject area. You have inspired me to do a better job!

    • Windclimber profile image
      Author

      Windclimber 5 years ago from my boat somewhere on the Chesapeake Bay

      Thank you, hecate-horus! Your comment validates my assertion that being downright careless with grammar lowers the expected value of whatever we have to say. Thanks!

    • hecate-horus profile image

      hecate-horus 5 years ago from Rowland Woods

      Interesting hub. Fair or not, I have a low opinion of people that persist with poor grammar, especially writers on hubs. If I find several major errors in the first few sentences, I stop reading. I don't feel that I can trust what they are saying if they can't bother to spell correctly or use the right conventions. That being said, I don't claim I'm perfect; I'm just saying, there has to be a higher standard to live up to. Hopefully hubbers will see this article and try to improve.