Two weeks prior to the launch of Word Nerd, “selfie” and “twerk” were not recognized as actual English words. Sure, they were being used, but they weren’t listed in any dictionary. One week prior to the launch of Word Nerd, those two words, along with forty others, were moved from literary watch lists and added to the Oxford English Dictionary as standard, acceptable words. Note: I said the word was acceptable, I did not say the act of twerking was acceptable. Evolution of language is inevitable. New inventions and discoveries demand new words. Generations put their own spin on terms by abbreviating or blending them. Whether we accept the changes or not, they will come.
Changes in grammar and spelling are inevitable as well. Typically, an official change occurs when a rule is so misused that it becomes the norm. Does anyone still spell center as centre? Or neighbor as neighbour? Which side of the Oxford comma debate are you on? And where do you stand on ending sentences with a preposition? The hard and fast rules we learned in school aren’t so cut and dry anymore. How many rules have I broken in this passage alone? Have I really broken any rules?
The purpose of language is to communicate. The purpose of standardized spelling and grammar is to communicate efficiently. There are studies and articles to back up most opinions, but what it really comes down to is this: Are you getting your point across to your reader? Does your writing say what you mean for it to say or does your reader have to do some head-scratching and re-reading to figure it out? The more convoluted your message is, the more likely you are to lose the respect and attention of your audience (also known as your potential customer or employer).
Don’t lose your audience. Take the time to proofread your message. Read it out loud. Have a friend look over it for you. Don’t have one of those friends? I’ll be your friend. Send your words my way and let’s figure it out together. I’m here to help. Really. I mean it.
At your service, ~Word Nerd Jill