Let’s Talk Language

June 11, 2018

Lately in the TGHR office, we’ve had a few grammar debates – do you put a comma before the word “and”? Do you double space or single space after paragraphs? Do you use acronyms as words in everyday conversation?  With attention to detail and excellent communication skills being some of the qualities that can help any employee stand out, we looked at how the English language is evolving.

This year, 2018, marks 90 years since the completion of the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary.  Did you know the dictionary is updated four times per year? The most recent update occurred in March 2018 and the next update is scheduled for June.  A number of new words are introduced with each update.  Words must be in use for a period of time to be considered – like hangry. According to this article, “the only language not in a perpetual state of flux is a dead language”.

Acronyms like ASAP, RSVP and FYI have been part of our vernacular for a long time now. New words have crept in the into the English language in recent times including BRB, YOLO, OMG, LOL, and TMI*.  Some of these acronyms are so pervasive in today’s language that they even make it into the Oxford English Dictionary.  For example, EGOT** was just added in January 2018.  What words do you think will be added next?

So, what’s up with the extra comma in a sentence, known as the oxford comma.  It turns out according to grammar experts, unless you are writing for a particular publication or school, it is up to your discretion if you use a comma or not.  According to Associated Press (AP) Style, which is the style that newspapers are written in, you should not use the comma before the word “and”.  Others feel passionate that it should be used in all cases.  What is your comma preference?

Recently at TGHR, we have starting using a new skills test provider.  When you take a typing test on the software, the directions indicate that you must put two spaces after each period.  It seems that this is second nature to approximately half of our office, but the other half is squarely in the one space after a sentence camp.  Why the difference?  It turns out it depends on how you learned to type.  If you learned to type on a typewriter, you most likely put two spaces after a sentence.  This is because with a typewriter each letter takes up the same amount of space (monotype), but on a computer with the fonts we use today, letters take up a proportional amount of space so not every letter gets the same amount of space. Putting two spaces after a period made sentences easier to read.  “Two spacers” tend to be from Generation X or before, which is what we discovered in our own office.  Take a poll in your office – one space or two?

Get crazy today and only use one space after your sentences and go nuts with commas because YOLO.  LOL!

* BRB (be right back), YOLO (you only live once), OMG (oh my gosh), LOL (laugh out loud), and TMI (too much information).

**EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony winner)