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  • Is Spelling and Grammar Important?

    Now, I would like to get this out of the way first and foremost - this is not a crusade. I am not trying to name call, or poke fun at people. I just hope that some of this may be helpful to some. It is mainly aimed at those whose first language is English, as English taught as a foreign language seems to offer more in-depth examination of our horrific spelling and grammar systems.

    Netiquette, and why it really should matter.

    Certforums itself has no particular guidelines on the way we should speak whilst online - but it is generally taken as a standard that, if you want to have a coherent conversation or get some decent answers, then it makes sense to ask a question in a coherent manner.

    If you've never had a chance to read them before, here are the Forum Rules.

    This general standard of 'full sentences' seems to be the norm on most professional forums, and when people do arrive that use contractions - 1337 speak or "txt" speak, they may find the mild flaming they get confusing and / or intimidating.

    So instead of setting down a full guideline on forum language usage, here, in brief, is why it just makes sense to use proper grammar and punctuation when posting on-line.

    Certforums is geared towards helping others progress in their careers. We are all passionate about IT getting the recognition it deserves as a profession, to stand alongside other career paths such as accountancy, engineering and the like. There are also many members of Certforums that hold high positions in their employment. If you pop onto these forums 'gns blzng' looking for work and recognition, it may not make the best impression - and a member of CF may well be the person sat opposite you at the interview table, assessing your worthiness for a job role.

    Just as LinkedIn purports to be a "networking site" so is Certforums - and perhaps more so, because it draws people from the same professions into one area where we can talk 'IT'.

    Be polite. Use commas, full stops, paragraphs, and keep away from using CAPS - and you'll be pleasantly surprised at the improved responses your posts (may) get, as well as just generally coming across as more, well, plausible as a serious professional.

    Basic Spelling and other nefarious things....

    Let's face it. We've all done it wrong at least once; English is a hard language to grasp.

    Writing the perfect CV doesn't just amount to cramming a couple of sheets of A4 with your life experiences. It has to read well, and also be presented well.

    As a small tip, good writing is just like any skill - you learn more by doing more.

    Contributing on forums such as CF is a great way to get writing practice in. Regular writing not only helps to expand your vocabulary and enhance your grammatical ability; it's also a good way of letting off steam or helping others by imparting your carefully-gleaned knowledge.

    If, like me, you don't feel as confident contributing on technical aspects of the forum, you could spend your time writing heinously verbose articles on topics you do feel confident about. You could do this for personal pleasure (as I, sad though it is, do quite often) or you could try contributing articles and anecdotes to your favourite sites and / or magazines. Remember, like everything, confidence and ability in a skill comes only with practise.

    And no, writing cheats in the console of a game really should not count.

    Many people are so caught up in the meat of their CV and writing, that the bones are often forgotten about - and getting the 'bones' wrong can make you look very silly down on paper. I'm going to go through a few brief common mistakes with correct usages afterwards - then I'm going to go over basic punctuation and some other 'do's and don'ts'.

    Yes I'm sad, but it's making me smile

    Please note, for the following it should not matter whether you use American English or British English (and I have attempted to make them topical where possible).
    Comments 34 Comments
    1. tripwire45's Avatar
      tripwire45 -
      Thank you! You are my goddess. Well, not really, but I do appreciate the intent of the article. Of course, being who I am, I'm a real bug for this sort of thing. That said, I make mistakes in my writing all the time, but I try to go back and fix the mistakes before I click "Submit Reply" (and thank goodness for the "Edit" button).

      I like the "Eat, shoots, and leaves" piece. The first time I heard that story, it was related to the subject of Biblical translation. Both ancient Hebrew and Greek have no punctuation, so depending on where the translators decide to put a comma or two, the meaning of various Biblical passages can change and portions of people's theology can change with it.
    1. skuzzy's Avatar
      skuzzy -
      Arroryn thank you so much about this article, never seen something like this one. But I don't understand the "Its" possesive, can you give one or two examples for that?
    1. greenbrucelee's Avatar
      greenbrucelee -
      good article.

      But I am no good at de english

      Serousely though I am not that good at writing although I do try. I think as long as people make their point coherently then that's good enough for me.
    1. skuzzy's Avatar
      skuzzy -
      #greenbrucelee yeah, but you should try to write as good as you can, maybe people take you as a great example to their character.
    1. hbroomhall's Avatar
      hbroomhall -
      Quote Originally Posted by skuzzy View Post
      Arroryn thank you so much about this article, never seen something like this one. But I don't understand the "Its" possesive, can you give one or two examples for that?
      General the possessive takes an apostrophe. e.g. Harry's car.

      Also contractions take an apostrophe showing that letters are missing - there is is contracted to there's.

      So what to we do about 'is is' and the memory belonging to it? Both would be "it's". The convention is that the contraction gets the apostrophe and the possessive doesn't.

      So we have "it is fine" -> "it's fine" and "its memory".

      A more detailed set of notes is here.

      Note that for purists (perhaps) in fact both usages are contractions. Old English used the ending -es, and the apostrophe marks the lost 'e'. Although it can be argued that spelling of the period was too variable to be definitive.

      Harry.
    1. skuzzy's Avatar
      skuzzy -
      Quote Originally Posted by hbroomhall View Post
      General the possessive takes an apostrophe. e.g. Harry's car.

      Also contractions take an apostrophe showing that letters are missing - there is is contracted to there's.

      So what to we do about 'is is' and the memory belonging to it? Both would be "it's". The convention is that the contraction gets the apostrophe and the possessive doesn't.

      So we have "it is fine" -> "it's fine" and "its memory".

      A more detailed set of notes is here.

      Note that for purists (perhaps) in fact both usages are contractions. Old English used the ending -es, and the apostrophe marks the lost 'e'. Although it can be argued that spelling of the period was too variable to be definitive.

      Harry.
      Yeah, now you cleared all the state. Thank you so much, I really appreciate your help!
    1. greenbrucelee's Avatar
      greenbrucelee -
      Quote Originally Posted by skuzzy View Post
      #greenbrucelee yeah, but you should try to write as good as you can, maybe people take you as a great example to their character.
      maybe, I am just not very good at writing. Never have been although I have improved since I left school.
    1. BosonMichael's Avatar
      BosonMichael -
      Excellent article! Repped!

      One thing I want to take special note of is this:

      Quote Originally Posted by Arroryn View Post
      Certforums is geared towards helping others progress in their careers. We are all passionate about IT getting the recognition it deserves as a profession, to stand alongside other career paths such as accountancy, engineering and the like. There are also many members of Certforums that hold high positions in their employment. If you pop onto these forums 'gns blzng' looking for work and recognition, it may not make the best impression - and a member of CF may well be the person sat opposite you at the interview table, assessing your worthiness for a job role.
      This is absolutely true; I have been offered employment based on my participation on the forums. And, the shoe is on the other foot as well... because I have interviewed people who have read what I have posted on the forums (even though they had never responded to any of my posts).

      In short, you never know who will be reading your posts. Make them as professional as possible, and you can never go wrong.
    1. JonGlory's Avatar
      JonGlory -
      Great Read, sentence structure isnt one of my strong points, plus I type too fast. Half the time when I read something back, im really just saying to myself what i want to say rather than what i have just typed.
    1. UKDarkstar's Avatar
      UKDarkstar -
      Ah ! A kindred spirit !

      Drives me mad sometimes reading some posts on forums (not just this one!).

      A couple of other irritations :

      Lose and Loose

      Advise and Advice

      Look them up people !



      Excellent thread ! Rep given
    1. skuzzy's Avatar
      skuzzy -
      Frogot to say that gave Rep. Congrats again.
    1. tbone152's Avatar
      tbone152 -
      Quote Originally Posted by UKDarkstar View Post

      Lose and Loose
      You won't believe how many times I've seen that one recently!
    1. nXPLOSi's Avatar
      nXPLOSi -
      Brilliant article. I could not agree more with the entire thing; nice one Arroryn

      Oh, by the way - You do have too much time on your hands!!
    1. -Mercury-'s Avatar
      -Mercury- -
      Excellent post, rep given.

      Another one is your and you're

      You're is simply a contraction of "you are"

      Your is the possessive pronoun form. This form is used to express that something belongs to "you"
    1. Qs's Avatar
      Qs -
      Good article! I'm also one of those people that cringes when I see people using bad grammar and incorrect spelling.

      I'm curious as to what the ratio is with regards to those users who have higher level English qualifications (A-Level and the like) and those who tipe and spel reely badlee.

      Qs
    1. nugget's Avatar
      nugget -
      Quote Originally Posted by UKDarkstar View Post
      Ah ! A kindred spirit !

      Drives me mad sometimes reading some posts on forums (not just this one!).

      A couple of other irritations :

      Lose and Loose

      Advise and Advice

      Look them up people !



      Excellent thread ! Rep given
      Exactly the ones that I wanted to point out too.

      Keep this up Arro and I'll be very happy to buy your books when they appear.
    1. Qs's Avatar
      Qs -
      Quote Originally Posted by nugget View Post
      Exactly the ones that I wanted to point out too.

      Keep this up Arro and I'll be very happy to buy your books when they appear.
      There, they're and their are my words of choice.

      Grrr....

      Qs
    1. Fergal1982's Avatar
      Fergal1982 -
      Good article, although apparently you didnt get the memo: spelling doesnt count in the professional world any more.

      I got an email about a job from an agency, and it was riddled with errors. Ill dig it out and post it to the forum tonight if i remember.

      That said, I still stand by my opinion of some people getting far too anal about this sort of thing on forums. Its just a forum. Sure you can get jobs based on it, as Michael says, but it is just a forum. And not even one where you need to actually reveal your identity.

      For instance, how many of you know what my real name is? Or where I live? Or what I look like. Sure, I've made these things available on here by choice (or have I? I can be anyone online, I dont need to worry about my real identity), but I didnt have to. I could easily not provide any of that information. Now tell me how an employer is going to be able to identify me from my posts on the web?

      Mike almost has to maintain a professional image whilst on here, since he has chosen to associate himself as an employee of Boson. When he talks here, he represents Boson. But l33tHaxx0r92 could also work for Boson, and no-one would be any the wiser unless they choose to divulge information about it.
    1. Qs's Avatar
      Qs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Fergal1982 View Post
      Mike almost has to maintain a professional image whilst on here, since he has chosen to associate himself as an employee of Boson. When he talks here, he represents Boson. But l33tHaxx0r92 could also work for Boson, and no-one would be any the wiser unless they choose to divulge information about it.
      I never did trust that l33tHaxx0r92 guy... far too quick to comment IMO.

      Qs
    1. kevicho's Avatar
      kevicho -
      While I agree completely, I must admit my spelling at times is atrocious, so I tend to be more forgiving when it comes to others mistakes ;)