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The Senior Vice President of a FMCG major was horrified to receive a terse call from the Chairman of his Board. The Chairman had received a few statements prepared for the press and was shocked at the mistakes that had crept into the releases. The mistakes were traced back to a young executive who had made the initial drafts.

“Ugh, grammar” said the young executive. “I used to hate it at school. What does it matter now that I am working for such a large organisation? ”

“All the more reason why you should pay attention to grammar” I replied. “After all when you write- a proposal, a pres release, a report or an analysis of a business situation, you ARE your organisation. If you make mistakes, it speaks poorly not only of you but of your organisation as well”.

In looking for material that would convey the message to the young man in an interesting way, I chanced upon a very useful website. Robert Morgan, a veteran of 40 years teaching, has created a site called Creative Teaching.

Here are a few examples, from Morgan’s wonderful list of “Humourous Grammar Rules” :-

  • Never use a preposition to end a sentence with. Winston Churchill, corrected on this error once, responded to the young man who corrected him by saying “Young man, that is the kind of impudence up with which I will not put!
  • Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.
  • Puns are for children, not groan readers.
  • Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
  • Foreign words and phrases are not always apropos.
  • Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies endlessly over and over again

I am sure you would have enjoyed them as much as I did.

Thank you, “Robert Morgan” (so much) 🙂

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This is the 138 th of the “A Step A Day” series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success