October 10, 2013

Google when you can

Dear M,

Until a couple of decades ago, writers had no option but to rely on resources available at hand, to perfect their art of writing.

If they had questions or needed any clarification, they had to visit a library or approach people who knew. But now, things are slightly different. (Different, I am not talking about better or worse.) Most of the stuff is available at our finger tips. There are still great many writers who do not use the Internet, but there are great many who do. And among the ones who do, the least we could hope for is a verification using the tool ready at hand.

I am not talking about fact-checking. I am talking about the simple art of writing in the language of our choice. Maybe things aren't as easy in other languages as they are in English. But when I read a writer, a tech-savvy one, making basic mistakes that he can just Google and correct, I feel disappointed. None of us is perfect, or great, but we all can be above average. Only if we try. Only if we think, let me check if that is right.

Why are we in a hurry to type and post, without verifying? Without reading just once more? Without just letting our eyes hover over some words and asking ourselves, is that the right word to use? What does that sophisticated looking alphabet soup mean anyway? Why don't I try to change it a bit? A few errors would escape our eyes, naturally, but surely not the most obvious ones.

Forget writers, I wonder the same when I read emails, official ones, formal ones, important ones. Why doesn't the author of that email just read what he has typed in a hurry? Is he afraid of losing a customer? I think the customer will be scared off in most cases by glaring mistakes than a delayed reply. Apparently the argument is that it is the meaning that matters. I am not a writer, they say. What if the grammar is horrible, what if the person chose the wrong word using his auto correct? The recipient can easily understand it was a typo, and get the info he wanted.

I beg to differ. Mistakes in the writing often make the recipient think the sender is professionally incompetent. In this age, verification can be done at multiple stages, so why don't we use them? There's Google; it doesn't solve all of Life's problems, but it can keep us from making fools of ourselves.

Use it.


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