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    哈佛商业评论:我不会雇用文法很差的人
    2014/08/18
如果你连apostrophe这个标点符号都没听过,那么我是不可能雇用你的。如果你以为分号只是不小心打错的冒号,我也不会雇用你。如果你随意把逗号分布在一句很长的句子中,我们会有礼的将你护送出公司大门。
 
我对标点符号的看法让你感到太极端吗?但我认为我应该是和Lynne Truss抱持相同的看法,我们坚持文法有其必要性。我无法容忍任何文法错误,因此常使人们受辱。
 
不过,对于何谓「无法容忍任何文法错误」,也有些争议。Lynne Truss认为犯下文法错误的人应该被闪电击中、当场击落、死无归处,而我只是认为我不想雇用他们而已,即使他们有很强的专业能力。
 
我们公司的每位应征者,都必须要做英文文法测验。如果有人连to和too都傻傻分不清楚,那么这位应征者的履历会直接被丢进垃圾桶。
 
当然,我们是以「写作」维生。我们是全球最大的在线维修教学网站,同时也协助企业撰写他们自己的技术文件,例如操作指南、用户教学等。所以我们如此严厉要求应征者的文法也是合理的。
 
但是,文法事实上对任何一家企业都是很重要的。虽然语言时常在变化,但那不代表文法会变得不重要。正确的文法代表可信度,尤其是在网络上。不管是部落格po文章、脸书发动态、电子邮件往返、公司网站,人们只能经由文字来认识你。在网络上,文字就代表你。如果你连their、there、they’re这三个字都会拼错或搞混,那要人们如何相信你?
 
正确的文法观念也代表好的商业经营头脑,而不只是在应征写作人才时有用。我们公司并没有把「写作」列在职称描述里面,但我们仍然请应征者来做文法考试,不管他们应征的职位是业务人员、操作人员、还是工程师。
 
我对于文法错误的「零容忍」,是否听来有些不公平?毕竟,英文文法和专业能力、创造力、智力,都没有显著关联。但真的是这样吗?


If you think an apostrophe was one of the 12 disciples of Jesus, you will never work for me. If you think a semicolon is a regular colon with an identity crisis, I will not hire you. If you scatter commas into a sentence with all the discrimination of a shotgun, you might make it to the foyer before we politely escort you from the building.

Some might call my approach to grammar extreme, but I prefer Lynne Truss’s more cuddly phraseology: I am a grammar “stickler.” And, like Truss — author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves — I have a “zero tolerance approach” to grammar mistakes that make people look stupid.

Now, Truss and I disagree on what it means to have “zero tolerance.” She thinks that people who mix up their itses “deserve to be struck by lightning, hacked up on the spot and buried in an unmarked grave,” while I just think they deserve to be passed over for a job — even if they are otherwise qualified for the position.

Everyone who applies for a position at either of my companies, iFixit or Dozuki, takes a mandatory grammar test. Extenuating circumstances aside (dyslexia, English language learners, etc.), if job hopefuls can’t distinguish between “to” and “too,” their applications go into the bin.

Of course, we write for a living. iFixit.com is the world’s largest online repair manual, and Dozuki helps companies write their own technical documentation, like paperless work instructions and step-by-step user manuals. So, it makes sense that we’ve made a preemptive strike against groan-worthy grammar errors.

But grammar is relevant for all companies. Yes, language is constantly changing, but that doesn’t make grammar unimportant. Good grammar is credibility, especially on the internet. In blog posts, on Facebook statuses, in e-mails, and on company websites, your words are all you have. They are a projection of you in your physical absence. And, for better or worse, people judge you if you can’t tell the difference between their, there, and they’re.

Good grammar makes good business sense — and not just when it comes to hiring writers. Writing isn’t in the official job description of most people in our office. Still, we give our grammar test to everybody, including our salespeople, our operations staff, and our programmers.

On the face of it, my zero tolerance approach to grammar errors might seem a little unfair. After all, grammar has nothing to do with job performance, or creativity, or intelligence, right?
 
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