Are you in need of the Grammar Police?

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What an opportunity it is to live in the information age. There are so many mind-boggling technological advancements out there and so many educational resources to take advantage of. As an appraiser, some of these resources are more helpful to you than you realize and can help you get your job done in the best way possible. So it is with your trainees and employees, especially when it comes to grammar and writing. At first glance, you may not think that considering grammar would make the slightest difference for you or your team. Because of course, the appraisal process is the final product of the work you do every day, and that doesn’t have very much to do with grammar. But what you deliver to the receiver is the final report, and if your grammar is atrocious, your credibility will be the first thing to walk out the door.

So, what if you do have an incredible employee or trainee who has the skills but just doesn’t seem to have the grammar? This could be for a variety of reasons. Maybe they grew up in rinky dink small-town Idaho and have their grammar backwards…. Maybe they struggled in school or don’t have a college degree. Maybe they just don’t have a lot of experience writing. And maybe one of these scenarios describes yourself. It’s one thing to need to use spell check, it’s another thing for grammar, but with all the resources available to you, it doesn’t make sense to suffer through that all-too-often scenario. There aren’t any “magic beans” that will cure the case, so to speak, but there are a few options you could investigate that could help. 

This is not a comprehensive list, but a starting point of recommendations from experienced appraisers out there who have experienced this same obstacle. Taking advantage of some great technology or informational classes—even simply going to a free system like YouTube—could be a huge help for you. Grammarly is a great place to start as well. There’s a free version and a paid version of this application; take a look and see what you need. The great thing about it is that you can take your verbiage, put it into Grammarly, and it will give you suggestions making it easier to read. You could run every sentence and every report through this resource, and it would only be to your benefit.

A terrific learning resource among many is the company Udemy. You can find all kinds of courses and classes, but if you search grammar and writing alone, it will return over 7,900 results. For a dozen dollars you can have a 2 ½ hour crash course on any grammar or writing topic under the sun. Other similar places to go are LinkedIn Learning (formerly lynda.com), teachable.com, or skillshare.com. Maybe you even want to select a few choice courses that specifically apply to your team and pay for the opportunity for your employees to get an education about that grammar or writing topic. It may seem like a silly investment, but when your employees build more trust with customers because of the professional nature of the reports they write, it will have been worth every dollar spent. 

You fight enough battles as an appraiser. You don’t need a battle with grammar and writing to be one of them. Don’t suffer through the challenge of staring at a poorly written report. Look into some of the resources above and make the changes you need in your office. There are ways to overcome this barrier if it is one that you face. If you are teaching a trainee to be a professional, professional grammar is a part of that. As professionals, it’s important to put out professional work. And in this world of knowledge and technology, that is surely a possibility.

For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode: 

6 Comments on “Are you in need of the Grammar Police?”

  1. Oh my! I’d rather you didn’t mention that. I only have one advantage over the form-fillers, in that I write my reports in easy-to-read English. No UAD for me, no interesting (and arcane) appraisal technical language. No “smart” words. (“utilize” instead of “use”) Oh well, sooner or later my secret would be out.

    1. Well, your grammar had a flat tire in the third sentence: “I only have one advantage…”
      Should be: “I have only one advantage…”
      “Only” always goes next to the word it modifies.

      You have a misdemeanor citation for language abuse from the grammar police.

      With that small exception, you hit the nail on the head with the rest of the post. Lately, my personal favorite is “onboarding.” Since when did “onboard” become a verb for which the participle form now indicates “hiring” someone?

  2. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You. For me, it’s like chalk on a blackboard trying to reading some of the reports that I agree to review. The most common are the improper use of “went”, “ran”, “to, too, two”, your/you’re, incorrect use of past, present, future tense in verbs, and 1 sentence paragraphs that should be 3 or more sentences. However, the big one is the incorrect use of pronouns. Yes, I still make the occasional mistake and pick it up on the second reading of the finished report. The majority of the public education system in this Country is a joke. I just don’t see how some of these people graduated from High School. Were they not taught English or Writing classes in grades 8-12? Okay, that’s the end of my rant. Let the bashing begin……

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