Good Use

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Good Use


(Memo sent to co-workers from the president of a Fortune 200 company)

Yo, hommies...Your work here has been the bomb lately. Let's meet at that happening bar and guzzle down some. If you can't come, give da man a jungle!

Da Prez.

(A letter sent to a kindergardener from his parents)

Dear Son, On this being your first day on your road of formal education, we wish you well. Please acquire vast knowledge, have great enjoyment, and we will await your return to inform us about your duration at school.

Look over these two examples of writing. Neither of them seem acceptable here. Might it be because 'Good Use' was not put to good use? These two examples of writing may be exceptable for some people but they are definitely are not acceptable in these situations. For example, because a president of a Fortune 200 company holds such a prestigious position in the work force, he should not be portraying a gang style image to his employees. On the other hand, a child should not be expected to understand the stuffy-languaged letter from his parents. There are several classes of writing that are used everyday between different people. A person who is able to judge when to use a particular style of writing in a given circumstance and is able to use it proficiently is a person who knows how to use the English language well.

As I said, there are many classes of correct English depending upon what situation you are in. A young child would not have an extensive vocabulary so their accepted written English would be of a very simple and possibly misspelled style. An African-American teenager may write in Ebonics and try to stylize the writing to portray a gang image if he/she is trying to act tough amongst their friends. High school and college students would write in the "cool" language that is accepted amongst their peers, abbreviate words, and have incomplete sentence structure because between friends, they would know what each is talking about. Also, a business professional would write in polite terms and use knowledgeable words pertaining to their particular field of work.

One single person may have several classes of correct English that they use throughout their day. One example may be of a graduate student. This graduate student goes to school, has friends, and may have a job in their field of study. Therefore, this person would use his written business English style at his workplace, the "cool" English style of writing among friends, and a scholarly English style for his graduate school work.

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Each style of writing has their own set of languages and structure depending upon the situations and they should not be intermixed.

William Tanner writes about his view on Good Usage. He states that you must watch what you say and write because it could ruin your reputation. Tanner also adds that if you fail to use the correct style of writing on an application for employment, that mistake may ruin your chance at getting the job. So it is important to keep each style of the written English language separate so that detrimental mistakes like what was shown above does not happen.

As noted before, there are many levels of the written English language. Each level expects the writer to write in a certain format. If the writer writes in a level above or below the target audience, the readers may ostracize him or her. For example, let's say that you were filling out an application for employment. The employer may be judging you upon how well you have mastered the English language in a professional sense. If you abbreviate, misspell, or write at a level lower then the employer would expect, the employer may end up looking for someone else who would be able to write at a more business-like level. On the other hand, let's say that you are exchanging email with your friends. Instead writing in the lingo that your friends understand, you might write in a very knowledgeable,scholarly, stiff English level. Your friends may a first take you new writing style as a joke but if continued, they may think that you are too good to be their friends. Consequently, you will end up trying to finding a new circle of friends.

(Memo sent to co-workers from the president of a Fortune 200 company)

Gentlemen, your work as of lately has been commendable. I suggest that we all meet at the corner bar for happy hour drinks. If you are unable to join, please let me know. I hope to see you there.

President.

(A letter sent to a kindergardener from his parents)

Dear Son, Today is your first day of school and we wish you good luck. Learn a lot, have fun, and we will wait for you to come home to tell us all about your first day of school.

Compare these two scripts to those at the beginning of this paper. For the given conditions, the second set seems to be more acceptable. Good Use has been put to use. The president has used his professional, business level of English writing to convey his message to his employees. The parents know that their child can understand simple terms so they wrote their letter in a simple style.

As shown in the examples in this paper, there are many styles for English writing. It is now up to the writer to be able to distinguish when to use what level in a particular situation.


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