During my last trip again I had the great pleasure to meet and debate with youngsters. Somehow the discussion went to proper spelling and grammar. In the mid-90s a new kind of person appeared online. They insisted to use language properly. Since 1995 they are referred to often as Grammar Nazi. This is the logo for them:
People, who think grammar and spelling doesn’t matter, think of themselves in this fashion:
During the recent debate, one self-proclaimed Grammar-Nazi came up with a useful metaphor.
He asked the audience to imagine a person unwashed, maybe even smelling badly. If this person approached them, how would they react?
According to the Grammar Nazi, proper spelling and grammar is the online equivalent to washing in ‘meatspace’. If you do not bother to shower, you cannot expect people to treat you with full respect. Equally, if you do not bother with spelling and grammar, you cannot expect respectful replies online. Or any reply at all.
Maybe the comparison helps when training younger staff members, who are sometimes struggling to drop their online slang in work communication.