Does grammar matter?
So OFSTED, you don’t like our grammar.
(Or should that be: ‘So, Ofsted. You don’t like our grammar?’)
The Guardian (23.04.2013) says that the body responsible for inspecting schools recently found it had enough time on its hands to start inspecting businesses’ copywriting.
Apparently, we business leaders are setting a bad example.
Phones 4 U. Toys R Us. Tomatoes’ four pound a pound.
I don’t think the problem is grammar.
Certainly, bad grammar breaks the first tenet of the contract of writing: show respect for the reader.
Bad grammar often indicates a lack of care.
Bad grammar can reveal a lack of thought.
But the real issue is that grammar is the haven of the pedant.
Banging on about grammar is like sitting in a dug out, firing air rifles at peacocks.
The insistence that grammar matters more than anything else is an assault on creativity.
I want good grammar. But I’m not going to go crazy if someone writes beautifully, evocatively, memorably, and they include an Oxford comma.
I can still remember, after 30 years, driving along the North Circular at night and seeing for the very first time the multi-coloured neon sign for Toys “R” Us.
The purpose of writing isn’t to follow rules, it’s to engage other humans.
Obviously, Ofsted has a role to play. But before they point a finger at us, they could have a quiet word with the person who approved their website landing page…