“Morals and manners will rise or decline with
our attention to grammar.”
Jason Chamberlain, 1911
Communicating effectively in two-dimensional media has been my passion, my gift, and was my career. The quote above was said at the inaugural address of Jason Chamberlain as he began his tenure as the President of the University of Vermont. I found it while I was developing a four-hour course designed to empower employees of various businesses to use the written word to send the messages that they really wanted to send.
It is one that has haunted me as I’ve seen the destruction of the medium over the years. The image above is one I recently shared on Facebook, where I questioned how much the writers of these headlines were paid.
I will admit that I am a word nerd, but when I see a high school graduate who doesn’t know the difference between THAN and THEN, and hear that even college instructors are telling students not to bother with apostrophes, my teeth hurt! In addition, today I heard a talking head refer to emoticons as our new language, and that they should be taken as seriously as the written word!
With Americans looking for free rides from their government and personal responsibility a thing of the past, children no longer having fathers, and very few people even sending “Thank You” emails anymore, can anyone else see the truth in Mr. Chamberlain’s words?
For any teachers out there – I have the easiest explanation for determining the placement of apostrophes EVER – I found it while I was teaching Business English to Accounting majors at a local community college back in the day! Leave a comment if you want to know it.