Measured Against Reality

Monday, October 29, 2007

On using words correctly

Here's an interesting anonymous article from the 1920's called Why I Never Hire Brilliant Men. It's quite an interesting read, and I particularly liked this part, as I harbor similar feelings:

"ONE of the five things I find out before I employ a man," says the author of this article, "is whether he can talk and write effectively. This may seem a strange requirement, but it has been a very useful one. If we could unscrew the top of men's heads and look in, many of our problems would be eliminated, for we could see what sort of thinking goes on there.

"Lacking that privilege however, we have to judge by what comes out of the mind through the tongue and fingers. If you write and speak neatly and accurately, it is because your thinking is orderly; if your expression is forceful, the thought back of it must be forceful. But if you blunder for words, punctuate incorrectly, spell incorrectly, and express yourself clumsily, I'm sure to believe you mind is cluttered and ill-disciplined.

"The continual use of slang expressions is an evidence of mental laziness, and I will not hire a man who depends upon slang to express his meaning. It is a substitute for exact thinking."


I don't think I can adequately describe the apoplexy I feel when I read malformed sentences, and I don't mean that in a snobbish way. I don't expect every person to be a poet, and I consider myself a mediocre writer at best, but when you can't write down a coherent, cogent sentence that obeys the grammatical rules of our language, it speaks volumes about you.

3 Comments:

  • One of my pet peeves is when people use the same adjective over and over to describe something. Like, "I think this is interesting...I find it interesting..." Really?! So, it's interesting you say?
    Also, people who refrain from slang aren't mental athletes, they're douchebags that nobody enjoys conversing with.
    Stick with the atheism theme, you're no Noam Chomsky.

    By Blogger blahblahblog, at 5:38 PM, October 29, 2007  

  • Actually I hate that too, if I read this stuff over I would have caught it. Although to be fair, you couldn't even quote it accurately.

    By Blogger Stupac2, at 5:45 PM, October 29, 2007  

  • I wasn't trying to.

    By Blogger blahblahblog, at 1:48 PM, October 30, 2007  

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