Re: Is Grammer Important?

Subject: Re: Is Grammer Important?
From: Diane Haugen <dhaugen -at- MEANS -dot- NET>
Date: Thu, 21 May 1998 11:38:20 -0500

Tony Markatos asked of all technical writers:

>Is good grammar important for effective technical communications? About
>six months ago, I read a book on procedures writing that said "Numerous
>studies have concluded that there is no correlation at all between
>effective technical communications and grammar".

I would certainly like to read this research. Research does show that even
though people claim grammar doesn't matter, they still unconsciously judge
people by their "proper" use of it.

My experience as a teacher of freshman composition is that those students
who do not have a firm grip on grammar, meaning those students who have to
constantly agonzie over whether they are using correct grammar or not, are
the same students who have difficulty understanding what they read.

I have long maintained that many of the studies of the usefulness of
teaching grammar have studied something else besides how people learn
grammar. You might want to look at my essay at

for a lengthier explanation of my heretical assertion. :>

And finally, as technical writers, much of what we do is look at what
someone else has written and try to figure out what they mean. This
certainly involves understanding the many ins and outs of grammar, correct
or otherwise.


Diane Haugen Whiskey Creek Document Design

Editor, Document Design

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