Ask Amy: They laugh at my co-worker, and I want to help him


DEAR AMY: I have a co-worker who has terrible grammar.

Columnist Amy Dickinson (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)

Sure, we all make grammar mistakes from time to time, but his is really bad all the time and people are starting to laugh at him or make glances to other team members about it when he makes presentations.

I believe English is his first and only spoken language (we all have our spoken languages documented in case a customer requires specific language help). However, I don’t think anyone corrects him.

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I don’t know him very well, but he is in my business circle. However, he is one level higher than me in the hierarchy.

I hate to see this guy be the butt of co-worker jokes and for people not to take him seriously. He seems like a good worker and is quite likable.

The only idea I have so far is to distribute or post a “common grammar mistakes” document and try to tie it in with an acronym guide for all staff members.

It still could come across as a targeted message, however, as he is the acronym king.

Is there a better way to address this, or should I just leave it alone?

Correct Co-worker

DEAR CORRECT: First of all, “The Acronym King” is most definitely my superhero name.

Distributing a list of “common grammar mistakes” might be a good idea for your entire team, certainly if you all interact directly with customers. However, I don’t think this cheat sheet would necessarily have a positive impact on the co-worker who has the biggest problem, because he may not even hear his errors.

Because you describe this person as a rung above you on your professional ladder, it might be seen as insubordinate for you to personally correct him (and of course you should never embarrass him by correcting him publicly).

You should share your concern with your own supervisor. Say, “I’m concerned about ‘Joe’ because his very poor grammar is undermining him with the team. I’m not sure how to help him, but I think somebody should. Can he be offered language coaching?”

DEAR AMY: My wife, “Betty” and I (both retired) do volunteer work at a cat rescue place. The “Cat Ranch” is a fenced area on a property owned by an elderly lady, “Sophie,” who had seven cats of her own living with her in her trailer, and others …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle

      

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