Click here to monitor SSC
SQLServerCentral is supported by Red Gate Software Ltd.
 
Log in  ::  Register  ::  Not logged in
 
 
 

K. Brian Kelley - Databases, Infrastructure, and Security

IT Security, MySQL, Perl, SQL Server, and Windows technologies.

Being a Better IT Pro - Grammar

In my IT career, one of the things I have found that sets me apart is my ability to write. As IT pros, we write a lot. Whether we're talking email or documentation, senior level IT workers are always writing. However, not all of us graduated college with a degree in English. I certainly didn't. The good news is you don't have to have an English degree to write well. Writing well consists of understanding the rules, observing good writing, and practicing.

One of the biggest areas that folks struggle is with respect to grammar. A grammatical mistake can obliterate an otherwise well-written message. Here are some of the big offenders:

CopyBlogger: 15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly

Do you struggle with any of these rules? The best way to overcome the problematic rule is to study the rule and then practice using it. For instance, the rule on there, their, and they're is one a lot of people get wrong. There refers to a place, their is possessive, and they're is a contraction of they are. If I was having an issue with this rule, I'd try to write 20 sentences of each example. After a few days of practice, I'd have the rule down. If you've never tried this exercise, it works on the concept of deliberate practice.

Master these 15 rules as a start to writing better. Writing, like most other skills, is a skill you can always improve on. Professional writers are always writing. They are always trying to improve. Even though writing isn't our primary skill, it is still an important one for any IT worker. Invest time and effort in your writing and you greatly benefit your career.

Comments

Posted by prabhu.st on 26 December 2013

Well said Brian, though its out of the border of technical stuff, it also covers the importance of IT skills.

Good and Useful tips...

Thanks,

Prabhu

SQL Developer @ DELL, Bangalore, India.

Posted by mohamedkerany on 27 December 2013

to improve the writting skills , we could write a technical articles in our blog ,I think it's  a practical consign to achieve a good level on writting  

Posted by david.conlan 1340 on 27 December 2013

prabhu.st - I suggest you revise rule number 2 (correct use of it's/its)

Posted by jerome-517570 on 27 December 2013

You're in the wrong industry to be worrying about the quality of written English. No matter how well it is written, it will no doubt be filled with ridiculous words e.g.  'is deprecated' ( I kid you not), 'a deleted record', architecting (what does that mean?), prepend, performant, ad nauseam

Posted by prakashr.r7 on 27 December 2013

This article would be very helpful for people like me who is not a native speaker of English. Like Brain siad, English is a very difficult language with respect to grammar. In my opinion, one cannot speak like a native speaker even the guy has been learning English for 15 years. :-)

Posted by Melanie Peterson on 27 December 2013

As a former English teacher (now a  programmer), thank you! I have never understood why tech people, who have to be so detail-oriented to be successful in their profession, don't seem to be able to master some simple rules of English spelling and grammar. All it takes is a little effort, much less than what you expended acquiring your tech skills.

Posted by Dave Vroman on 27 December 2013

As a former Math teacher, I fully agree with Melanie. I also see quite a few problems with the current jargon. In particular, the use of parenthesis "()", brackets "[]" and braces "{}". It can be very confusing if they're incorrectly identified.

Posted by Stephanie J Brown on 27 December 2013

I don't have a masters in English, however I DO notice poor grammar in emails and other communications.  In my experience a person with better grammar skills will win out over a person with poor grammar skills when it comes to interviews.

Communication is a highly prized technical skill.  Brushing up on it can help your career.

Posted by mstjean on 27 December 2013

I always keep a copy of the National Lampoon's article "How To Write Good" at hand when I need to write an important memo.

Posted by Ralph Hightower on 3 January 2014

Good points. Authors should also use a spell checker. I have read numerous technical blogs and I often see grammatical errors and spelling errors; I'll look back to the author's name and make a biased guess if English is their first language or their second language.

Posted by Michael Meierruth on 20 January 2014

I think the correct way to say ME, MYSELF, AND I is ME, MYSELF AND I.

That extra comma is incorrect.

Posted by P Jones on 20 January 2014

I was brought up to use the English language properly and went to a grammar school so I was very pleased to see this article and especially the copyblogger linked one. Misuse of the language always causes me to distrust the content and not give it the consideration it may well deserve.

My pet peeve is the misuse of lend and borrow. Despite all her education to degree level my daughter has fallen into the "street speak" of asking "can I lend a tenner" only to be given the reply "you don't have to ask me if you want to lend money to someone"!

Posted by P Jones on 20 January 2014

I was brought up to use the English language properly and went to a grammar school so I was very pleased to see this article and especially the copyblogger linked one. Misuse of the language always causes me to distrust the content and not give it the consideration it may well deserve.

My pet peeve is the misuse of lend and borrow. Despite all her education to degree level my daughter has fallen into the "street speak" of asking "can I lend a tenner" only to be given the reply "you don't have to ask me if you want to lend money to someone"!

Posted by Rhodri Evans on 20 January 2014

I would like to say that I wasn't guilty of any of the "grammar goofs" - but that's never going to be the case.  But I internally grimace at the office sign "Social Notice's"; the use of the greengrocer's apostrophe for plurals is becoming increasingly commonplace.

Posted by csaptd on 20 January 2014

"The best way to overcome the problematic rule is to study the rule and then practice using it." Spot the deliberate mistake?

Posted by csaptd on 20 January 2014

Pity there is no "like" for jomments on here - jerome-517570's one is a belter!

Posted by Mark Dalley on 20 January 2014

@csaptd: "The best way to *master* the problematic rule is to study the rule and then practice using it." Am I right?

Posted by Mark Dalley on 20 January 2014

Some excellent light reading (seriously!) on this very important topic: "Grammer Rules: Writing With Military Precision" by Craig Shrives. I bought it as a present for my son and couldn't put it down!

What I think looks worst is text-speak in blog postings. Rightly or not, it brands the writer as a careless, sloppy and immature person whose thought processes are suspect and hence unworthy of serious attention.

But also: Sometimes breaking the rules can be effective too, if done with discretion. When I say that grammar sloppiness and obsessive grammer pedantry are both things up with which we should refuse to put, it might just be that I like the sound of the sentence, rather than being an obsessive pedant myself! (I do try to be careful though.)

Posted by Mark Dalley on 20 January 2014

There you go! "Grammar", not "Grammer"! Not careful enough! My apologies.

Posted by Jim Curry on 22 January 2014

Michael, the use of a comma prior to a conjunction is correct. www.getitwriteonline.com/.../052709serialcomma.htm

Posted by Jim Curry on 22 January 2014

Michael, the use of a comma prior to a conjunction is correct. www.getitwriteonline.com/.../052709serialcomma.htm

Leave a Comment

Please register or log in to leave a comment.