A story by NBC reporter Roger O'Neill provides a tidbit of hope for those who cringe at the sorry state to which our collective grammar has fallen. According to O'Neill, Fortune 500 companies are spending more than $3 billion a year re-training employees to properly use grammar. He quotes one Roger Peterson:
- "How about this expression, 'for all intents and purposes.' What does that mean?" asks Peterson. "[Or] 'at this point in time.' What does that mean? How is it better than saying 'now?' 'That was an awfully nice dinner you just served me.' Well, was it a nice dinner or was it an awful dinner? Make up your mind. We simply, now, must salvage American English."
Words do matter, and not just to grammar snobs. They matter because it takes a bit of time to craft a well-turned sentence and in the extra span of a few minutes - or even seconds - you can actually THINK about what you're saying and present an idea worthy of the reader's attention.
- If it's important enough to ask someone to read it - it's worth an extra minute of review.