How Well Do You Speak?

As a writer you pay attention to how your grammar comes across in the written word, but do you pay as much attention in your speaking and chatting? Bad grammar is a habit just like anything else.  But good grammar is also a habit and I find that bad grammar is one of the most frequently seen/heard habits in the speaking world.

For a long time I wasn’t concerned with how I spoke. After all, I’m a writer and had the misconception that’s where my good grammar should be. But it occurred to me one day that I need to mind my spoken grammar just as much. It doesn’t matter if I’m in the grocery store or speaking on the phone to a utility company. As a writer, your grasp pf grammar should show through no matter the situation you’re in.  That doesn’t mean you have to be stuffy sounding or can’t enjoy kidding around with your friends, but for the most part, bad grammar invokes the perception of ignorance, if English is your first language.

How Well Do You SpeakI’m from the south and many people here are under the false impression that you have to be well-educated to have good grammar.  That’s simply not true.  You do need a basic knowledge of grammar, past and present tense, etc. but it does not take a degree or even a high school education to be well spoken.

Often times in chatting on IM’s with friends I catch myself using bad grammar.  This is not a major crime and no one else see’s it, but as a writer I should hold myself to a much higher standard and present myself as a well written writer even though I’m speaking to a friend I grew up with.

Poor grammar is used so much that it’s often hard to remember how to use correct grammar.  We’ve become so accustomed to hearing things spoken the wrong way that the proper way often sounds like the wrong way.

I’ve also noticed in reading other blogs about poor grammar, if the writer makes a mistake in pointing out bad grammar, someone in the audience is always there to post a rude comment about how the writer should take a lesson in grammar before complaining about grammar.  I thought about this before I decided to tackle this topic and I came to the conclusion that we’re all human.  Unless we have a degree in English, we will make mistakes, we will misuse I and me in many sentences, we will misuse past and present tense with words like froze and frozen.  When we do make human mistakes, it would be nice to have a humanly reply pointing out our mistake instead of a direct attack because we aren’t perfect.

My point in this topic is that we should be actively aware of how we speak.  We need to be in constant awareness of the words we choose. If we misuse a word, we should make note of it and do better next time.  Unfortunately, we can’t correct the people we come in contact with, but we can hope that our own choice of words will leave an impact on them and make them want to be better speakers as well.

I believe speaking well and writing well go hand in hand. If you use good grammar in your daily speech, you will have better grammar in your written words too.  One is good practice for the other.

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