It’s no secret that few students look forward to learning grammar. But what many might not want to
hear is the close relationship some say exists between one’s grammar and his or her career success.
Peter Harris is the editor-in-chief of Workopolis.com . What he says in this piece, published on March
19, 2013, might cause students to want to pay more attention to their language skills.
“Grammar and Your Salary” by Peter Harris
Want to get ahead at work? Take a little extra time to formulate grammatically correct sentences and
carefully proofread everything you write. How important are the minor details of word usage and
punctuation? A report put out by Grammarly earlier this month shows that people who use proper
grammar advance further and faster in their careers.
For this study, they analysed the LinkedIn profiles of native English speaking professionals, and
compared their language skills with their career trajectories over a ten-year period. Their findings are
telling. People with poor grammar skills don’t rise to the top. Those who had not reached a director-
level position in the first ten years of their working lives made 2.5 times as many grammatical
mistakes as people who earned director-level titles or higher. The professionals who made fewer
grammatical mistakes were promoted more often and changed jobs more frequently than did their
more error-prone contemporaries.
Beyond just getting promoted and moving up the ladder, using proper grammar can be critical to
getting hired at all. One of the easiest ways to sink your candidacy for a position is to have typos or
spelling mistakes in your resume. Hiring managers interpret such errors as signs of carelessness,
laziness, or a lack of language skills on the job seeker’s part. If you can’t take the time to produce an
error-free document when you’re trying to get hired in the first place, how will you perform on the job?
Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit, recently wrote in the Harvard Business Review that he flat out won’t hire
someone who uses poor grammar—even for a programming role that doesn’t require writing for the
public. He explains, “On the face of it, my zero tolerance approach to grammar errors might seem a
little unfair. After all, grammar has nothing to do with job performance, or creativity, or intelligence,
right? Wrong. If it takes someone more than twenty years to notice how to properly use ‘it’s,’ then
that’s not a learning curve I’m comfortable with.”
There are some fairly obvious reasons why the proper use of grammar would be associated with
greater career success. First off, taking the time to formulate proper sentences and carefully
proofread your work shows an attention to detail. People who care about producing quality, error-free
work generally get promoted above people who don’t. Having proper grammar skills can often be an
indication that someone has a greater level of education, which in many fields still coincides with
When I mentioned that I was writing about this, my coworker Christina, a professional editor, became
quite passionate about the proper use of “your” (belonging to you) and “you’re “(you are.) Apparently
she is “driven batty” when her friends who are native English speakers get this one wrong. With style
guides, dictionaries and numerous grammar-related websites readily available online, there’s really
no excuse anymore for some of the classic grammatical errors. If you don’t know whether to use
“affect” or “effect,” “who” or “whom,” or “fewer” or “less,” just look it up
Brian Bethune, “How Face-to-Face Contact Makes Us Happier,”
Maclean’s, 1 September 2014. Reproduced by permission of Maclean’s Magazine.
We all love our cellphones. What would we do without them? But is it possible that they are
responsible for our loss of trust in people? And when the trust is gone, what’s left? Brian
Bethune’s piece suggests we should pause and examine our lives in light of this technology and
its effects on our social interaction. His article was first published in Maclean’s magazine on
September 1, 2014.
1Susan Pinker knows as well as anyone what’s been won and what’s been lost in the modern
era of personal mobility and global connections. “Our digital devices are fabulous for gaining
information, for scheduling our lives, for reaching the people we want and avoiding the people
we detest,” says the Montreal-based developmental psychologist and author of The Village
Effect: How Face-to-Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier and Happier, in an interview. “But
those digital devices have not been good for human relationships, because they cannot
2That trust is what we need, Pinker argues in her narrative-rich book. She ranges over poll
results and new medical research, mostly concentrated in North America but with a detour to
isolated Sardinian mountain villages, where men—who, on worldwide average, die five to seven
years before women—live to 100 at a rate 10 times that of just about anywhere else. The secret
to that longevity, she concludes, is the same as the cost: The old men, socially wealthy and
surrounded by constant (mostly female) attention, “were impossible to meet alone,” she says,
“because they never were.” While there were undeniable health benefits for both, the way in
which lives—mostly younger and female—were dedicated to the care of the elderly is virtually
anathema in the modern West, where fostering independence is a primary parental goal.
3We have less of that village-level contact now than we ever did, because that’s the way we
want it, but also, Pinker asserts, because “we have been making trade-offs we haven’t
understood.” Even when people begin to recognize the physical and psychological cost of
increasing isolation, they are dangerously prone to thinking their new online relationships
replace in-person ones. They do not: The benefits humans derive from close interaction—the
empathy, the understanding, the firing of mirror neurons that cause us to mimic to whom we are
speaking, and the trust all that creates—require “being in the same room,” Pinker says. Adding
to the problem, “surveys show that highly social people use their digital connections to buttress
their live ones, while less social people—introverts and the shy—use them to avoid personal
encounters.” The socially rich, in other words, are getting richer and the poor poorer.
4The situation mirrors the way we were once fitter—or, at least, leaner—when everyday life
required more physical effort, in everything from shovelling coal into the furnace to running a
wringer washer. Now we have to schedule physical exercise for its own sake. In the same
manner, our social structures used to force more interaction with others upon us, except, Pinker
believes, we don’t grasp the social deficit the way we noticed the lack of exercise. “Everybody
gets into a funk sometimes. Does anybody wonder, ‘Maybe I haven’t had enough social
contact?’ That’s the main reason I wrote the book, to ask why we aren’t making a big deal of this.”
Documentation Assignment (10%)
For this assignment, you will READ 2 passages and write
answers to the reading questions using proper APA in-text
citations. You do not need to create a References page.
Answer the reading questions in full sentences and refer to
the reading passage to support your answer. Use proper
APA in-text citations when you refer to the passages.
Scope: you will have a brief paragraph in response to each
Do not quote, rather paraphrase the author’s idea in your
own words. Think simple and clear format.
Type your answers in a WORD document. Use the title
“Documentation Assignment” for your assignment paper.
Submit your assignment to the Assignment folder of the
Note regarding Turnitin: there will be some match;
however, you want to avoid too high a score by including
your own ideas and words in the answers.
Grammar and Your Salary p. 397
Why is the ability to pay attention to detail important?
Face to Face p. 430
Explain the meaning of the sentence: “The socially rich, in
other words, are getting richer and the poor poorer.” Par. 3
APA (American Psychological Association)
When you use information from a source in your own essay, you
need to follow a documentation style. In the APA (American
Psychological Association) writing style, there are two required
elements: in-text citations throughout your assignment, and a
reference list at the end.
In-text citations: this includes information about a source
within the text of your assignment.
References: this must be listed at the end of each document
In –Text Citation:
You must cite ideas which are borrowed from someone
else for two reasons:
To avoid academic dishonesty( Plagiarism).
To give credit to the author’s opinion.
To cite someone else’s idea in your sentences or paragraphs, you
must follow the appropriate parenthetical style. Make sure you
add (Author’s Last name, Published Year, Page(s)
Number(s) at the end or in the middle of your sentence.
At COMM 161 level, you are not encouraged or expected to
use direct quotes. You need to paraphrase ideas from
readings and provide in-text citation to support your
opinion in writing.
Now take a look at the video tutorial on APA in-text citation which
teaches how to cite the source properly.
Source: To view a transcript, click here.
For each cited idea, there must a reference link given at the end of
your writing on a separate page called a reference page. References
must be written in alphabetical order based on the last name of the
Throop, B. (2017). Cyber Misogyny. In G. Lipschutz, S. Scarry, & J.
Scarry, The Canadian writer’s workplace 8th edition (pp. 411- 413).
Toronto : Nelson Education. Packaged with Mindtap.