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Language skills for programmers

Joel apparently gets annoyed by improper punctuation.

Joel Spolsky on how to persuage him to read a résumé. Several rants at on this article.

“Attention, the entire population of India: whenever you have a comma, there is always exactly one space and it’s always after the comma and never before it. Thank you.”

Sure. Perhaps in a distant future, American kids will be taught that there --question: should this be there, they’re or their ;-) -- is a difference between your and you are. May be the world will not have to worry about what the hell is a nucular weapon that no developing nation should possess. May be you won’t have applicants starting with yeah, that is great for every other question. May be there will be a swift death for the loony lingo popularized by instant messaging.

Usually, the reason for someone to be poor in English grammar is because s/he already speaks another language as the mother tongue. In the case of Indians, it is quite possible that s/he speaks several other languages (For example, I speak six languages, in varying degrees of fluency).

In this economy, I suppose it is too much to ask if the job description is appropriate, accurate and motivating enough.

  1. I suspect that any "American kids" confusing 'your' and 'you are' wouldn't make it though Joel's resume filter either.

    Posted by: Alan Green on January 27, 2004 08:30 PM
  2. I get Mr.Spolsky's frustration there...
    Its a surprising fact how Indians in America (after going through GRE etc) still manage to do that!

    Posted by: hpnadig on January 27, 2004 10:12 PM
  3. #1: May be. In that case, I should write it, like Joel did, as "Attention, _entire population of US_: please figure out the difference between 'your' and 'you are' before applying" :-)

    Posted by: Babu on January 28, 2004 05:53 AM
  4. #2: Quite a few Americans manage to do that too. After speaking and writing in English their whole life.

    Posted by: Babu on January 28, 2004 05:56 AM
  5. I find that Americans have a very limited grasp or English.

    Posted by: Max Russell on February 3, 2004 01:55 AM
  6. Joel should chek Microsoft word for his grammar.
    Quote his article - When the job listing says "summer intern," don't ask for a full time job. – As per the grammar suggestion by Microsoft Word there should be a comma after - When the job listing says

    Quote2 - In the olden days résumés were sent out in the mail and included a cover sheet on top which explained why the résumé was being sent. – There should be a comma after top if which is used or that should be used without comma

    Posted by: Satya on March 12, 2004 09:23 PM
  7. Sorry that i am a bit of topic here.
    I am looking for technical writer who is compute savvy.
    I like how you put your words together. If you are interested could you email me your rates.

    Posted by: Nose on July 13, 2004 11:58 AM
  8. If someone doesn't know English grammar it isn't "because s/he already speaks another language"; it's because... well, it's because that person hasn't learned English grammar. Every language one learns expands one's ability to handle words, and moreover to understand grammatical rules and bend them to one's purpose. It helps if the learning starts early. I have met young people who knew a dozen languages or more, and their English grammar was impeccable. It also helps if one is interested in language as such, and in the way languages differ from or resemble one another.

    Posted by: axel harvey on July 20, 2004 09:51 PM