“Little or no grammar teaching, cellphone texting, social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, all are being blamed for an increasingly unacceptable number of post-secondary students who can’t write properly.” A cry from the heart at the beginning of an article on CNews from Canada. The article reported that Ontario’s Waterloo University is one of the few post-secondary institutions in Canada to require the students they accept to pass an exam testing their English language skills and that almost a third of those students are failing. Paul Budra, an English professor and associate dean of arts and science at Simon Fraser delivers this memorable quote in the article:
I get their essays and I go ‘You obviously don’t know what a sentence fragment is. You think commas are sort of like parmesan cheese that you sprinkle on your words’
If you are interested in better communication through the correct writing of Plain English explore these resources:
- Write Mark New Zealand Plain English standard promoted by the Write Group
- Contented blog blog of Rachel McAlpine, author of Write me a web page Elsie
- Plain English Power a network of New Zealanders keen on Plain English
- List of Articles about writing web content
These are all New Zealand websites. We are assembling a Writing for the Web toolkit, and if anyone can recommend other good writing and grammar websites and books it would be great to share.