Lyndsey Jid Chow

USM student, TESOL undergraduate, Blogger A twenty-two-year-old educator-to-be, she is currently pursuing Bachelor Degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). Strict, with firm belief on truth, plus a perfectionist mindset, she strikes the public as a defiant youth with a blunt tongue. She owns her own blog (Life is a Bed of Roses) as well as her own fan base of avid readers. She indulges in writing with the dream to awaken human race from the slumber of ignorance with her out-spoken voice, and dares everyone to challenge the worn-out tradition.

I have a great driving skills, am I?

Does the above sentence make your grip tightened and your jaws clenched? Does it make you feel like punching the writer in his/her face? If you do not agree with me, then you may fall into the category of indifferent people when it comes to grammar. Sadly, this is what most of the Malaysians truly are.

The above sentence is one of the Facebook statuses I came across when I was scrolling through my news feed. In “normal” situations, I would ignore it and resume scrolling. It’s just a Facebook status anyway, isn’t it? Yet what really caught my eye was the person who posted this. It was one of my dear juniors! I rubbed my eyes for a few times and even clicked into her profile to confirm her identity. I was shocked. Being a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) undergraduate, she has shown the world an excellent example of a low-grade grammar error. Well-done.

Let me be straight forward and tell you what’s wrong in this sentence:

First, skill can be both countable and uncountable, depending on context. In the above context, it would be UNCOUNTABLE, i.e. driving skills is the same as computer skills, communication skills and so on. Therefore, the very grave mistake is to put the article “a” along with an uncountable noun.

Next, English has its very own rules of QUESTION TAGS. Do click on the link if you wish for more detailed explanation, for now we shall skip the boring lecture and go straight to the right answer, shall we?

I have great driving skills, don’t I?

And here is another easier form if you are easily confused with question tags:

I have great driving skills, right?

Now, why should you care? You might snicker at my stubbornness for insisting correct grammar, is doesn’t really affect your life, hmm?

Imagine – you are applying for a job position at one of those overseas corporate companies. Your cover letter is full of petty grammar errors. The company reviewed your social media sites beforehand (this is common among employers) and saw your statuses. You are never contacted for any interview. You don’t understand what goes wrong. Your results are above average and your job experiences are better than others. You just don’t understand why your friend got the offer but you don’t.

Dear readers, you have just annihilated your future by making grammar errors, don’t you see that? Let’s open our minds and take in the truth, shall we?

Grammar matters.

Further readings for those who want to improve!

#TowardsBetterEnglish #TowardsABetterUSM #TowardsABetterNation


*The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of DuaRinggit.

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