Proper English Matters

Happy PencilThe English language has a long and complicated history and etymology, neither of which I will enter into in this venue.  We are at a point in history where the English language (in the Western world) is saturated with dialects, accents, idioms, jargon, slang, shortcuts, idiosyncrasies, lingo, colloquialisms, provincialism, street talk, intonations, buzzwords, clichés, drivel, gibberish, mumbo jumbo, trite language, shoptalk, doublespeak, catchphrases, mottos, slogans, taglines, jingles, diction, etc. that it is nearly impossible to believe that we seem to somehow make it through every day understanding each other.

To add mud to the mix and as an example in the Western world, the current population of the United States of America is 320 million.  In late April of 2013, the United States Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy conducted a study.  Here are a few results from that study:

  1. 32 million adults in the United States of America cannot read.
  2. 21 percent of adults in the United States of America read below a 5th grade level.
  3. 19 percent of high school graduates cannot read.

Given those statistics, you should feel exceptionally fortunate that you are not illiterate.  I will not go into even a few of the many reasons I can think of when it comes to being fortunate enough to be able to fluently read, write, and speak the English language.  What I ask you to do is to pause now for a decent stretch of time and imagine what it would be like to be illiterate.

To consider for even a nanosecond that you are illiterate should give you the chills down to your bone marrow and should make you realize how fortunate you are that you are not illiterate.

I argue that being literate means that you should take proud ownership in your literacy while it should also give you a sense of real responsibility for the beautiful English language.

Here are 10 reasons I thought of off of the top of my head as to why proper English matters (it would be zero issue for me to come up with many more reasons):

  1. It demonstrates that you are educated.
  2. It demonstrates that you take pride in yourself by properly speaking and writing the English language.
  3. It demonstrates that you understand the gift of the English language by honoring it through its proper use.
  4. It demonstrates that you know the long development of the English language.
  5. It demonstrates respect for other people by using the English language in a way that makes it very easy for other people to understand you.
  6. It demonstrates that you honor great authors of the past and the present who go to great pains to use the English language properly.
  7. It demonstrates that you honor great orators of the past and the present who go to great pains to use the English language properly.
  8. It demonstrates that you take things seriously.  If anyone believes life ought to be rich with fun, that person is me; however, there are times that we must be serious.  By using the English language properly you show people that you take things serious enough—like using the English language properly—that you can be entrusted with important issues and responsibilities…it shows your worth to other people.
  9. It demonstrates that you keep commitments and that you are committed to quality.  It is a commitment to use the English language properly.  So, if you have the commitment to use the English language properly you can also be given other commitments.  People will know you will see that each of the commitments you are given will be completed with stellar quality and on time.
  10. Given the long and winding road it took to develop proper English, using it properly is simply the right thing to do.

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