September 7, 2017

Instructor Blog: Why Does Writing Well Matter?

By B&SC Blog Team

Instructor Blog: Why Does Writing Well Matter?

For some students, English courses can seem unrelated to the knowledge they need to be successful in their field. However, strong writing skills demonstrate that you are educated, professional, and pay attention to detail. Before I was in the education field, I was part of a team that was evaluating candidates for a position. There was one resume from a candidate that had great experience, but it also included a typo. The individual was not offered the job. Imagine sending your resume to a potential employer with the employer’s name spelled incorrectly. What first impression would you be making? The truth is that grammar matters!

These are certainly minor errors and it may seem unfair to disqualify someone from an interview because of them. However, these are the details that can leave a negative impression before someone even has the change to meet you in person. Error-free communication, especially when applying for a job, is crucial.

With that in mind, let’s address some frequently asked grammar questions in writing by examining these commonplace errors:

Incorrect apostrophe usage

An apostrophe is used to show possession. For example: “Alex’s idea. ” The idea belongs to Alex so there is an apostrophe.

It is not used to show plural. For example, “Gladys has two interviews.” The word “interview” is plural and not possessive, so there is no apostrophe.

Inappropriate use of personal pronouns

The use of personal pronouns should be minimal in academic and professional writing. For example, phrases such as “I think” are usually unneeded, and can detract from the facts. Using “you” should be done with caution. Using phrases such as “you should” can appear condescending and should only be used when clearly appropriate. Personal pronouns also detract from a professional tone.

Lack of proofreading

Any document that has a typo, spaces missing between words, or misspellings shows that the writer did not take the time to proofread a document. Incorrect word choice is not always caught by spell-check. For example, the words “defiantly” and “definitely” are similar in spelling, but quite different in meaning. Any document with your name on it represents you and your company. In our digital world, these words can be around for a long time!

Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement

Antecedent doesn’t have to be part of your regular vocabulary, however, consider the following sentence:

A student should always cite their work.

In the above sentence, student is singular therefore their is not the appropriate pronoun as it is plural. The grammatically correct way to state the sentence would be either of the below sentences:

A student should always cite his or her work.

Students should always cite their work.

Learning how to write well by correcting these errors in your writing is a great start! Keep those English textbooks handy so you can always brush up on your writing. It may make the difference between a glance and an interview!

For more career resources, check out the career center at Bryant & Stratton College.

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