A few years ago, I published a post about refusing to accept unclear language. I mentioned that I often make a point of refusing.
For example, in retail stores, such as the local Staples, I correct indolent clerks who are not speaking clear, grown-up English.
Well, it appears that I may not have been the only Staples customer to do that. Recently I was in the store and was delightfully surprised to notice that things had improved; every clerk within earshot was speaking clear, grown-up English.
I heard clerks asking customers “Can I help you, sir?” instead of “All set?”
I heard a clerk using the correct, grown-up, second-person-plural personal pronoun, “you,” instead of the childish, white-trash “you guys.”
I even heard a clerk conclude a transaction with “Thank you” instead of “Hah wuh goo wuh” (Have a good one).How wonderful! It appeared that Staples (or at least that one store) had gotten religion.*
Admittedly, I am quick to complain. But I’m equally quick to praise. I went online and posted a highly positive customer comment, praising by name the two clerks who had waited on me – both of them clear-speaking, dignified, polite and helpful.
The Takeaway: Intelligent people always judge you by your diction. Always. For every irascible geezer like me who complains out loud, a thousand other intelligent people maintain a polite or cowardly silence. But they do judge you. If you could read their minds you would die of embarrassment. So use clear, grown-up English. You can do it; you know you can. Don’t worry about small errors in grammar; people will overlook those if they see that you are trying. Let your intelligence shine through.
*“get religion: Fig. to become serious (about something), usually after a powerful experience.” (Source)