Forget About Perfect Grammar And Just Write Well

Forget About Perfect Grammar And Just Write Well

Learning the rules of language is important, otherwise it can be pretty difficult to communicate effectively. But if you’re hung up on perfect form and accuracy you can end up impeding your own creativity and the development of language in general.

In Matthew Rogers’ hypnotic video (above), Stephen Fry argues that the enjoyment of language is far more important than pedantic accuracy. Playing with words, and even creating new ones, is what makes language great. Seeing these new developments as new possibilities for, rather than casualties of, writing and speech offers more freedom and creativity in how you communicate. We should still aim to write well and communicate clearly, but choose our battles of language wisely. Personally, I can say my life was a little less stressful the day I accepted the place of “texting” into the vernacular.

The video is a treat, but the full essay, Don’t Mind Your Language, is the meal.

Stephen Fry Kinetic Typography – Language [Matthew Rogers on Vimeo]


  • While you don’t have to have perfect grammar to have an intelligent discussion, if you get the basics like their/there and your/you’re wrong… I *WILL* judge you. Getting those words wrong speaks volumes about you.

  • @Scrapz: I think the idea here is that, you don’t want to let the restrictions of language hinder you when you are trying to present as much content on paper as possible. I see this being perfectly appropriate when you’re drafting your writing – forget the restrictions, just write with your thoughts and feelings on the draft, and polish your grammar later when you review your own writing.

  • yeah, embnedded video on this site seems to be completely screwed. Hasn’t been right for a couple of weeks. My guess it has something to do with the ‘brought to you by Telstra’ bit at the top. Even the merest suggestion of involvement with Telstra will totally kill something ha ha

  • Yes, alright, writing playfully is an integral aspect of engaging communication. But when you completely eschew coherence, the cleverness within your writing will be so wonderfully obfuscated beneath layers of frustrating nonsense that it might as well not be there at all.
    Getting bogged down in academic abstractions can get rather tedious, I concede. The word ‘won’t’ has the wrong number of apostrophes and jumbled letters, but everyone tends to accept it. But unless you have a rather firm grasp of grammar, it becomes very difficult to play with language in the style of, to pick a name entirely at random, Stephen Fry. In fact, to pick a name with a little more purpose, Douglas Adams. Much of his wit stemmed from the fact that he was so incredibly gifted with language. He often subverted grammatical rules, but it was funny because he knew precisely what he was subverting. And after being so inextricably versed in the work of those like him, instances of starkly awful grammar burn at that part of my brain that howls at a sharp or flat note.

    But alas, I’m rambling. Furthermore, I’m unlikely to change any minds. Heigh ho.

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