National poll shows millennials do care about grammar

Regardless of their age, people care a lot about grammar.

In a Harris Poll for, 59 percent of respondents said improper grammar is their biggest annoyance when it comes to the English language. Millennials, the 18- to 34-year-old generation that grew up using AutoCorrect and acronyms like BRB, are no exception.

They’re surprising sticklers about proper grammar use, with 74 percent of them getting ticked off if they see errors on social media, according to the poll.

In the runup to National Grammar Day, today, young people have been firing off tweets about how much they despise bad grammar.

“What I’ve seen over 20 years, regardless of students’ backgrounds and competencies, is that they are eager to be correct,” Emory University administrator Helen Julien said.

Julien, director of the school’s Domain of One’s Own Initiative, which allows students to administer their own websites, says millennials are expert “codeswitchers” who can seamlessly transition from “textspeak” to academic writing.

That might be a surprise to those who blame the downfall of proper English on the rise of texting and the Internet.

However, Mark Bauerlein, an Emory professor who wrote “The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don’t Trust Anyone Under 30),” says millennials should step away from their computer screens to improve their “terrible” grammar.

“Their stylistic tics are nonsensical fluff: ‘Like … Like … Like …,’ sentences punctuated with ‘N Stuff,’ mindless clichés such as ‘Omigod!’ and ‘Awesome.’ In their writing, they aren’t much better. Let’s be clear about every standardized test score and every survey of teachers and employers: the writing of students and younger workers is a mess,” Bauerlein said in an email.

Verbal tics aside, they might spend more time on grammar than Gen X; a study by the Pew Research Center found that millennials were more likely to have read a book in the past year than their elders.

Stephen Dobranski, a professor in Georgia State University’s English department, says social media has made millennials more aware of the different way language can be used across platforms.

“Perhaps some millennials have thus become more attentive to such details as punctuation and grammar, whether they are hashtags or semicolons or sentence fragments. The details that millennials find most important, though, might differ from the rules that earlier writers emphasized,” he said.

Malinda Snow, associate professor of English at Georgia State, says the millennial generation has its share of grammar nerds. However, while teaching, she’s noticed that some millennials have been misinformed about grammar.

“I do find that many students have acquired a good deal of misinformation from well-meaning instructors who give advice like ‘never begin a sentence with “because.” ’ Students are alert to advice received, but they aren’t always able to sift that advice and recognize the best,” she said.

Millennial and Georgia State University student Jennifer Harris values proper grammar but thinks this skill needs to be strengthened among some in her generation. She says some people’s lack of grammar knowledge is due to how school curricula are structured.

“The last time I remember learning about grammar, like actual grammar, was in middle school. And then I went to high school, and it was just all about reading stuff like ‘The Great Gatsby’ and ‘Lord of the Flies,’ ” Harris said. “They didn’t care how you wrote, like sentence structure. It was all about interpreting the works.”

Jamear Jackson, a Georgia State junior, also thinks grammar has been “lost in the sauce” among millennials.

“We learn it in elementary, middle school, and then after then, it’s straight interpretation,” Jackson said. “If (the school system) stressed the importance of proper grammar even on social media, it would be better.”

Dobranski recommends that millennials who want to improve their grammar do so by reading a variety of works, books and articles.

“The more great writing a person reads, the more sensitive she will become to how words work. And millennials have to pay attention,” he said. “Multitasking often means that a person is not working with the requisite care and precision, two essential things for effective reading and writing.”

Former 51s manager Wally Backman chats about new job
Former Las Vegas 51s manager Wally Backman talks about his new job with the independent league Long Island Ducks during the Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 10, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen
Video for parties
Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Hall talks about his memories of Dec. 7, 1941
U.S. Army Corps Edward Hall, a 95-year-old survivor of Pearl Harbor talks about his memories of that horrific day. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Roy Choi on cooking for Park MGM employees
As he prepares to open his new restaurant Best Friend later this month at Park MGM, celebrity chef Roy Choi took the time to cook for the resort’s employees Tuesday. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Great Santa Run
People participated in the 14th annual Las Vegas Great Santa Run which raises cubs for Opportunity Village.
World Holidays Exhibit At The Natural History Museum
Migratory Bird Day teaches adults and kids to celebrate birds
Different organizations offered activities for kids and adults to learn about birds and celebrate their migration journey at Sunset Park. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"Jackson: The Red Rock Canyon Burro" is a children's book about Red Rock Canyon
"Jackson: The Red Rock Canyon Burro" is a children's book about Red Rock Canyon (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Interfaith Amigos speak in Las Vegas
Celebrity photographer dedicates dance book to Las Vegas shooting victims
Behind the scenes with local celebrity photographer Jerry Metellus as he talks about his Dance For Vegas coffee book dedicated to the 58 victims of the October 1 shooting. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Dreamsickle Kids Foundation founder Gina Glass talks awareness
Gina Glass, 35, founded Dreamsickle Kids Foundation to raise awareness for sickle cell disease in Nevada. (Jessie Bekker/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like