Dem Guv’ment Peeps Don’t Write Good

Here’s an interesting story from the AP:

States spend nearly a quarter of a billion dollars a year on remedial writing instruction for their employees, according to a new report that says the indirect costs of sloppy writing probably hurt taxpayers even more.
The National Commission on Writing, in a report to be released Tuesday, says that good writing skills are at least as important in the public sector as in private industry. Poor writing not only befuddles citizens but also slows down the government as bureaucrats struggle with unclear instructions or have to redo poorly written work.

As a writer, I’m fascinated by the changing nature of language. Thanks to e-mail and the blogosphere, more people are writing–and many are doing it badly. Now, part of that is due to the quick nature of postings and the importance of quick replies, but some people simply never learned how to write clearly and properly in the first place.
Even in ad agency life, which is a communication business, I constantly see correspondence that’s badly written and full of grammar errors. Hey, I’m guilty of it, too. Is there a solution for this? If trends continue, and as hip-hop language becomes more and more influential in society, we may not be able to communicate effectively with anyone in another 10 years.



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.