The Grammar Police

I’ve been following an ongoing discussion on the surveying bulletin board,, about the use of correct spelling and grammar by surveyors. Some people feel that surveyors have atrocious writing skills and should work harder to correct them; and others say spelling and grammar shouldn’t matter all that much as long as you’re supplying clients with good quality surveys. So far, I’ve read the various comments with interest and said nothing. I shall remain silent no longer.

Yes, good communication skills matter!

Granted, spelling and grammar may not be all that important on a computer bulletin board that’s meant for surveyors to discuss ideas amongst each other. Nor does it matter with grocery lists, daily journals or personal E-mail. Who cares about grammar among close friends? I don’t even use capital letters when I write to mine. But these are the only exceptions I can come up with. Yours may be the most brilliant mind since Einstein, but if you use improper English as a professional, you’ll seem ignorant.

Good communication skills are in no way synonymous with college educations. Most science and math-based curriculums are woefully short on writing and composition requirements. So, all you four-year degree people who think you’re off the hook; think again. I’ve seen letters from college-educated people so poorly written they were painful to read.

People will judge the way you think based on how you write. If you’re sloppy, people will assume your thinking is sloppy, too. Why take that risk? Learning proper grammar isn’t rocket science. All you need is a good grammar book for reference. Once you memorize grammar and punctuation rules, they will be yours to use for a lifetime of good writing. There is no excuse for misspelling when most documents are typed on computers equipped with spell check. No spell check? No computer? Try a dictionary.

Make sure every piece of correspondence that goes out of your office is proofread. The easiest way is to read what you have written out loud. You’ll know when it comes out of your mouth if you’ve successfully conveyed the ideas you had in mind. Is it clear? Is it understandable? Is it easy to read? Check for spelling and commonly confused words (i.e.,here/hear,it’s/its,there/their, your/you’re). Make sure it’s legible and attractively presented.

Your written words are a reflection of you - a sort of mirror by which others judge you. Make sure people see what you want them to see.


Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to POB.

Recent Articles by Jackie Headapohl

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

HxGN Live

More than 3,500 attendees from more than 70 countries attended HxGN Live, the annual Hexagon AB user conference, at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on June 3-6. About 450 keynotes and panel discussions were held, and several companies from around the world exhibited their geospatial products. Here are a few snapshots from the event.


POB May 2015 Cover

2015 May

In this May 2015 issue of POB, we take a look at the keynote on technology in the information age given by Andy Lowery, DAQRI CEO, at this year's SPAR International.

Table Of Contents Subscribe


Surveyors, with the weather finally starting to improve everywhere, are you thinking about the long days to come? This summer, you are going to …
View Results Poll Archive

Point of Beginning Store

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\POB\epubsite\Statues-pic-large.gif

The perfect gift or award for any special occasion.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.


Facebook logo Twitter logo  LinkedIn logo  YouTube logoRPLS small logo

Google +

Geo Locator

Buyers Guide

The #1 buyers' guide for land surveyors and geomatics professionals. Search listings for software and equipment manufacturers, equipment dealers and professional services. CLICK HERE to view GeoLocator.