Is grammar really that important?

This is starting to seem like one of those articles that skirts round the answer, never really comes to a conclusion, and leaves the reader feeling a little cheated.

Bear with me.

Honestly, who gives a shit if you don’t know the difference between who and whom?

The number one purpose for language — whether it’s spoken or written — is to communicate. You want to take an idea, a thought, a concept from your head and put it in someone else’s. If they understand what you’re trying to get across, with no ambiguity, exactly as you intended, then what’s the problem, right?

Right. But what if getting grammar slightly wrong changes the meaning of your entire idea?

An AWOL comma can make for a very uncomfortable situation (and a mental image that I’m sure none of Robby’s Facebook friends ever wanted).

Unnecessary quotation marks can make your business transactions seem a little, well, questionable.

My conclusion: split your infinitives like there’s no tomorrow; start your sentences with prepositions; if you don’t know the difference between who and whom, just stick to who.

But…

There are some things that you just need to get right, because otherwise, you’ll end up getting yourself in a right old mess.

TLDR: grammar can be the difference between knowing your shit, and knowing you’re shit.

Ellen Holcombe