Why does the spelling, punctuation and grammar (what we call SPG) in 63336’s answers matter? Surely all that’s important is that the information is correct.
The explanation is simple. If the SPG can’t be trusted, why should the customer trust the accuracy of the answer’s content? Our customers have spent £1 to ask us a question, and we believe our use of correct English and our attention to detail shows that we care about working hard to craft the whole answer. We’re not just concerned about getting an accurate answer to the customer quickly; if that was the case, many of our answers would be short, but we believe that would be short-changing the customer. We have a particular style of answers that our customers tell us they like.
So, excellent writing skills are essential if you want to become a 63336 researcher. 63336 is proud of its impeccable English, but is it becoming a rare breed?
Do people care whether full stops are in the right place, or even whether words are spelt correctly, as long as we can comprehend what’s being said? That is the issue. There comes a point at which language becomes so corrupted that we can no longer understand it on first, second, or even third reading. As the Roman rhetorician Marcus Fabius Quintilian said quite a few years ago (you know the one – he lived c. AD 35-90):
One should aim not at being possible to understand, but at being impossible to misunderstand.
We all appreciate that English is a living, changing language, but 63336 is clear about where it draws the line.
No text speak please; we speak English
Despite being a text-based service, 63336 would never consider employing txt spk – sorry, text speak – such as gr8, cul8r, lmao (or even roflmao). Of course, if we thought it would be more popular with customers, we would probably use it, but that’s turned out not to be the case. Customers new to 63336 receive a welcome message saying, “Finally, welcome to 63336. Please save 63336 in your phone for when you next need us.” We don’t urge the customer to “plzz txt bak”.
However, we do understand there’s a place for the creative expansion of language. Many argue that today’s terminology is not so much the end of our language, but more a progression of it; it’s a kind of high-tech shorthand necessitated by the use of modern technology and by our general lack of time – and, actually, such shorthand isn’t quite as modern as some would believe. The first evidence of an emoticon appeared in a speech by Abraham Lincoln in 1862 (it was a wink, although arguments still rage as to whether it was a deliberate emoticon or whether it was a typo).
So, at 63336, we’re always clear and concise, and we turn our backs on anything that could be ambiguous or incomprehensible – but that’s just part of the SPG issue.
The nation’s SPG in decline
Deliberate truncation of the English language is one thing; the deterioration in the nation’s basic SPG skills is another. Sadly, these errors are witnessed in all areas of life.
For instance, a sign spotted recently in a shop window boasted:
Spesial offer – all jewlry 50p.
Whilst bad, at least this was scrawled in marker pen, very temporarily, on the glass. More annoying are the ‘professionally’ printed, permanent signs. Why not proofread these messages before going to the expense of having incorrect words emblazoned across shopfronts or company cars?
Cars for sale: all makes and modles.
Credit cards excepted.
No unortherised parking.
Then there’s the greengrocers’ apostrophe (using an apostrophe incorrectly to form a plural):
Cake’s for all occasion’s: wedding’s, birthday’s, anniversary’s.
Computer repair’s and upgrade’s.
And just common mistakes:
Last but defiantly not least.
Your my best friend.
Their’s a bus stop opposite the supermarket.
“It’s OK”, you say, “I would never do such a thing; I’ve got a PC and I run everything through my spellchecker to ensure my writing is perfect.” If this is you, think again. The following poem Candidate for a Pullet Surprise (or Owed to a Spelling Checker) was written by Professor Jerrold Zar and Mark Eckman as a cautionary tale:
I have a spelling checker.
It came with my PC.
It plane lee marks four my revue
Miss steaks aye can knot sea.
Eye ran this poem threw it,
Your sure reel glad two no.
Its vary polished inn it’s weigh.
My checker tolled me sew.
A checker is a bless sing,
It freeze yew lodes of thyme.
It helps me right awl stiles two reed,
And aides me when aye rime.
..and there are 6 more (verses)
Whilst more sophisticated spell checkers use language models to look at the context and will point out some of the errors, lesser programs find little or no fault with the above verses.
So, we’re sure you’ll be relieved to know that 63336 is standing up for the nation’s SPG standards. It doesn’t rely on unreliable spell checkers. Of course, they’re handy as a back-up, but 63336 ultimately relies on the expertise of its researchers, allowing us to bring you perfectly constructed, as well as perfectly researched, top quality answers. (If you think you’re up to it, you’ll be interested in “So you fancy a job with 63336?”
So, finally, would 63336 ever consider lowering its SPG standards – even just a little?
Neva m8. Lol.