Re: Is Grammer Important?

Subject: Re: Is Grammer Important?
From: "Walker, Arlen P" <Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 21 May 1998 11:30:21 -0500

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".

Grammar is obviously important, because without following it a sentence
not make sense. Example: "Red pig green hand blue."

I suspect the studies instead concluded that accurate content in a rough
partially-grammatic form is just as understandable as a grammatically
perfect presentation of the same facts.

If that's the case, I tend to agree. There is a level of grammar that is
absolutely required for effective technical communication. That level,
however, falls short of perfection, and improving it beyond that point
yields diminishing returns.

This is just a guess, but I wouldn't be surprised if the level of grammar
required varies with the knowledge of the audience. The more knowledgeable
of the subject the audience is, the less important good grammar is to their
understanding of the material.

If anyone seriously thinks grammar makes no difference at all, I recommend
you pick up the book "Soviet Chess Conveyor" by Mikhail Shereshevsky and
how easy it is to learn chess from it. ("Conveyor" from the title is used
the sense of conveying information. That should give you a hint as to how
badly it's done.)

Have fun,
Chief Managing Director In Charge, Department of Redundancy Department
DNRC 224

Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- Com
In God we trust; all others must provide data.
Opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.
If JCI had an opinion on this, they'd hire someone else to deliver it.

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