Grammar. It’s all the rage. Or does it bring about all our rage?
For instance, did you know it is grammatically correct to say, I bat at the bat with a bat?”
And that’s just the English language. In Spanish, you can say “Nada pasa,” which means “Nothing’s happening” if said as a statement, but if given as a command, means “Swim, raisin!”
And shall we get started on abbreviations, which have become popular with texting?
One of my most favorite shirts displays this message, “YOLO. LOL. JK. BRB. – Jesus” What does this mean? Younger generations would pick it up quickly, but for us older folk it can frustrate us to no end! But you might keep reading until I give you the answer, as opposed to the Gen Z’ers who lose interest after the first 130 characters (which we are now past, so is anyone still reading?)
“You Only Live Once. Laugh Out Loud. Just Kidding. Be Right Back!” said Jesus. Isn’t that an awesome message? LOL :o)
Written communication is such a vital tool of our expression. But if not used properly, or we don’t understand its medium, it can be a source of great frustration, even misunderstanding.
Take the King James Version of the Bible as another example. What a rich heritage we have in its language. I enjoy its poetic style and its ability to say much with little words. But when word meanings change, we are sometimes left wondering.
I Cor. 16:13 says, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.” But it doesn’t mean for us to stop being a man. It means to act like a man.
The application of knowledge in the art of grammar gives us this answer. The more we study and learn, the richer our vocabulary and the greater our comprehension.
Have you mastered the art of grammar? Or do you find yourself continually on the wrong side of understanding? Here are a couple tips to consider:
Know Your Audience
Who are you writing to? Is a young child or an elderly grandmother the recipient of your message? Is the receiver an English teacher, or someone who struggles to understand your native language? Are they a thinker, or do they require great effort to maintain concentration? Knowing about your audience and how they will best receive your communication will go a long way toward sending a clear message.Know your audience. Who are you writing to? - Kurt Lang Click To Tweet
Know Your Medium
Are you writing a personal letter to a grandparent? Perhaps it’s a technical letter to a business associate, or an essay for a college scholarship application. Or just a short text to mom saying you’ll be late for dinner. Abbreviations, missing commas and the like on an informal text or sticky note can be forgiven much easier than when included in a business communique.
Know Your Style
If you know your audience is more professional, yet you like to write with a sarcastic or fun flair, you would benefit from the keen eye of another to edit your work. If you like to use fancy words, put them all in your technical blog, but practice those simple ones with your kids. Realize how you best communicate, then pause and think about whether you can get the message across in your preferred manner or with the benefit of some adjustment.
Put it All Together
Have you ever gotten to the end of an article and wondered, “What in the world did I just read?” Or put a book back on the shelf with the ability to walk away and not give it another thought? Or leave instructions for an assignment you need done, only to return to an unfinished product? Perhaps one of these three considerations were left unmet.
Match your style with your audience, with the utilization of the right medium, and your communication skills will soar! And if you’re thinking my application of abbreviations are OTT (over the top) because they’re in the wrong medium, you might be correct. But maybe, just maybe that’s my clever way of getting across my point…hmm.
If you’re still here and didn’t decide this article was TLDR (too long, didn’t read), let me encourage you to sharpen your written communication skills by participating in the Written Communication for Leadership course offered by Artios Christian College. It’s available every term, and you can register by going to https://my.artioscollege.org/en/courses. Trust me, it will be worth your time.
And speaking of time, mine is up. GTG. TTYL!
Artios Christian College is here to help you learn more about written communication skills.