The Instigator
gavin.ogden
Pro (for)
Winning
18 Points
The Contender
RougeFox
Con (against)
Losing
2 Points

Proper grammar and spelling are very important in written debate.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/24/2010 Category: Education
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 5,509 times Debate No: 13764
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (14)
Votes (5)

 

gavin.ogden

Pro

Recently, I have found it extremely difficult to understand what is being said in some debates. With sub-standard grammar and spelling, deciphering meaning and context is nearly impossible. I would like this debate to be somewhat informal, and would like to thank my opponent in advance for accepting this debate. I will not be using any arguments in this round, and would appreciate if my opponent would also use round one for introductions. I look forward to a thought provoking debate, and may the best argument win.
RougeFox

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for this debate. This is my first debate on this website, and I look forward to debating this rather unusual topic. I will present my observations, definitions, and arguments in the next round as requested.
Debate Round No. 1
gavin.ogden

Pro

Thank you, RougeFox, for accepting this debate and my apologies for the extended wait. As I have stated, it is very important that the writer use correct spelling and grammar in written debate. I will use my first round of arguments to illustrate the importance of correct spelling and grammar. My second round will be used to rebut my opponent's argument. As I stated before, I would like to keep this debate informal, if possible.

The first, and most obvious reason why spelling and grammar are important in written debate is so people can read and understand the arguments being presented. It seems quite simple that if a word cannot be read, the argument being presented cannot be fully understood. Moreover, there is a spell check tool to help the writer with some mistakes. It seems like the only reason not to use this tool is shear laziness. I would like to add that typos simply happen. Even the most eloquent and successful writers misspell a word from time to time, but they certainly do not make a habit of it. Also, there are many people on this site from other countries, and I believe they would certainly be more able to read and comprehend a debate if it is written properly.

For those of us who grew up in the U.S., and were required to learn English, there are some mistakes that really are unforgivable. For example, when someone uses the word "to", instead of "too", the entire meaning is changed. This is an elementary mistake that I see often, and do not fully understand. Just to name a few others, I will list them below:
-You're~~Your
-There~~Their~~They're
-Then~~Than
-Here~~Hear
There are more, but the readers get the point. These words are NOT the same. When someone uses the wrong word, it changes the meaning of the whole sentence, or takes all meaning away. Even if the reader can understand what is meant, some might get a bad taste in their mouth for having to translate the argument. Also, part of the voting is based on grammar and spelling. Why wouldn't someone try to guarantee that vote by simply using proper grammar and spelling? It makes no sense to give yourself an immediate disadvantage by butchering the English language.

I have actually had to stop reading some debates because I had NO idea what the person was trying to say. This is a written debate, not a text message. I would like to include two links to debates. I am not going to categorize them, but I assure you my opponent and the readers can. One will be a debate using proper grammar and spelling, and the other one, well, you get the idea.
http://www.debate.org...
http://www.debate.org...

I would like to conclude my round with this. Using the language to the writer's advantage, he/she can illustrate a wonderful picture with only words and punctuation. That is the beauty of written debate. It combines the value of debate for knowledge and ideas, with the art and richness of writing. For instance, if two people debating have excellent arguments, sources, and conduct, but one has horrible spelling and grammar, he/she will most likely lose that debate. Also, someone might have a superior argument, but if he/she cannot articulate that in writing, it will be overlooked, and he/she will lose the debate. No one is perfect, even when it comes to something as simple as writing, but strong, consistent grammar and spelling ARE very important in written debate.

I would like to thank RougeFox again, and I am very much looking forward to a strong, well written, and thought provoking first round of arguments. Thanks to the readers for any feedback, and thank you to the DDO community for allowing us this forum.
RougeFox

Con

I thank my opponent for his thoughtful response. I will not refute his case in this round because that would give me more rebuttal time which would be unfair.

I will begin by making the following observations and providing the following definitions:
Observations
1.Effective arguments are the most important aspect of debate
2.The Con does not have to advocate the use of improper grammar and spelling in written debate; it just has to show how improper grammar and spelling are not detrimental.
3.Because the Con does not have to advocate the use of improper grammar and spelling; by using proper grammar and spelling, I am not affirming the resolution.
Definitions
Proper - conforming to established standards of behavior or manners; correct or decorous
Very - a high degree; extremely; exceedingly
Important - of much or great significance or consequence
All definitions provided by http://dictionary.reference.com...
Contention 1: Improper grammar and spelling does not deter the value of debate.
Effective communication can happen without proper grammar or spelling. Every day, people use improper grammar and, in writing, spelling is not always perfect. A sentence without proper grammar or spelling can still communicate an idea. For example, the following sentence clearly communicates an idea while using improper grammar and improper spelling. "Confusism and Taoism and Mohism are philosophies not religons." There are multiple grammar mistakes and ‘religions' is misspelled, but the idea is still being communicated effectively. Improper grammar and spelling did not prevent the idea/argument from being communicated. Since the arguments are the most important aspect of debate, and the improper grammar and spelling did not hinder the argument, it is not very important.
Contention 2: Proper grammar and spelling in written debate, especially online, is an unrealistic expectation.
Arguments in rounds on this website can be thousands of words long; people don't often have time to proofread their work, especially since there are time limits on responses. Moreover, typos are common and, when reading any typed work, the reader should understand that people aren't perfect and do make mistakes. As I stated above, small typos and spelling errors do not affect communication.
Proper grammar is not always common knowledge. On an online debate site, people should be focused on persuading the audience and voters of their side; they should not have to check reference books or textbooks to see whether their grammar is accurate. If proper grammar were ‘very important' the measures I stated previously or other cumbersome measures might have to take place when debating on this site, that would decrease the amount of members and debates which would ultimately not fulfill the purpose of this website.
Contention 3: Proper grammar and spelling is only one of six voting issues; therefore, it is not "very important"
If proper grammar and spelling is only one of six voting issues for the voters, then how can you consider it "very important"?
In review, the resolution should be contradicted. First, improper grammar and spelling does not prevent the communication of ideas or arguments. Second, it is unrealistic to expect proper grammar and spelling online. If the resolution is affirmed, then people would have to do the tedious task of proofreading and checking their grammar with reference books. This would make this website unattractive. Third, proper grammar and spelling is only 1 of 6 voting criteria; therefore, it is not "very important".
Debate Round No. 2
gavin.ogden

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent for such a quick response, and also for an outstanding round of arguments. While my opponent does have some good points, I will refute them all in this round. Also, I would like to point out that my opponent used proper grammar and spelling in his argument. While this may not affirm the resolution, it certainly aided my opponent in several ways. He will not lose points for this when voting time comes. Also, this made his arguments very coherent and palatable.
I would just like to quickly get a few things out of the way. My opponent states,"Effective arguments are the most important aspect of debate." I agree, but this has nothing to do with the resolution. Also, my opponent states,"people don't often have time to proofread their work, especially since there are time limits on responses." This is ridiculous. It took me 3 minutes to read my opponent's argument. I was allotted three days to respond. I think that leaves ample time for the ten minute proofreading session. Again, the only reason for not proofreading is laziness. Also, there are 7 possible points for voting. Every one of those points is very important when deciding a winner. Notice how many debates end in ties.
My opponent states,"The Con does not have to advocate the use of improper grammar and spelling in written debate; it just has to show how improper grammar and spelling are not detrimental." I have illustrated its detriment with the attached debates. In one, The spelling and grammar are so bad, The pro actually negates his own argument several times. Remember, just because to have a good argument does not mean people can understand your writing. If I cannot understand your writing, then I cannot understand your argument. Since this is the most important part of a debate, I believe it stands that spelling and grammar are very important.
I already stated that no one is perfect and typos happen. That is not what this debate is about. It is about the importance of proper grammar and spelling, overall. My opponent did not rebut the part about spelling and using spell check. I assume that is because there is no excuse for not using spell check, except laziness. That leaves only grammar, and I believe wholeheartedly that the readers will agree, it can be very difficult to understand what someone is writing when their grammar is sub-standard. It takes longer to read, and takes much more effort to decipher what some are really trying to say. My opponent says, " Proper grammar is not always common knowledge." I say that proper grammar is taught in schools for a reason. It is taught universally so that it may become common knowledge. It is absolutely crucial in communication, and isn't that exactly what debate is all about? Debate is about two people communicating their views to each other and the readers. This cannot be done on a consistent basis using poor grammar and spelling.
I would like to sincerely thank RougeFox for this debate. It has been fun, and I very much look forward to his final round. I'm sure he will give me a run for my money, but I felt this topic was important to bring to the surface. Thank you, everyone, for reading this debate, and I hope I was convincing. Good luck to my worthy opponent.
RougeFox

Con

I thank my opponent for his quick response. I will begin by refuting my opponent's case and then showing why mine stands.

My opponent states that proper spelling and grammar are important because it allows people to read and understand the arguments presented. Yet, I gave an example in which improper spelling and grammar were used, but the argument was still conveyed effectively. Therefore,since arguments can be communicated without the use of proper spelling and grammar, we must not look to my opponent's point regarding readability.

My opponent also states because there is a spell checker, the only reason for not using proper spelling is laziness. This is not relevant since it does not relate to the importance of spelling and grammar, so we must not look to this point.

My opponent later discusses how words and punctuation can be used to illustrate a picture. However, in a debate situation, it is not the job of the debater to paint a picture, so to speak. That is something that should be used in creative writing, not debate. My opponent also states that articulation in writing is necessary for communication of arguments. However, articulation is more than just proper grammar and spelling. It includes vocabulary and understanding of words. Since articulation is not only caused by proper grammar and spelling we must not look to this point.

I contend that improper grammar and spelling does not deter the value of debate. I provided an example which my opponent has failed to refute.

I also contend that proper grammar and spelling is an unreasonable expectation. I point to time constraints. My opponent points out that he had three days to write his argument. This is true, but I was referring to the time spent on the argument. People are busy, and, especially with multiple rounds and debates, many people might not have time to proofread all their arguments.

I also state that proper grammar is not common knowledge. My opponent states that grammar is taught in schools; therefore, it is common knowledge. This is not necessarily true. People only retain the information that they need to know, and, if they are not constantly using proper grammar, it is forgotten. Once forgotten, it is no longer common knowledge. Also, if proper grammar were common knowledge, it would always be used. Since proper grammar and knowledge is not constantly used it is not common knowledge. Also, according to the 2000 census, only 54% of people whose first language is not English say that they speak English "very well". (http://www.census.gov...). This implies that proper grammar is not common knowledge for over 20 million Americans. Now that it has been established that proper grammar is not common knowledge, my opponent failed to refute my point regarding reference books. If proper grammar was required then the use of reference book would deter people from using this site, which is not a good thing.

I thank my opponent for pointing out that there are seven voting issues. As I said, I am new to this site and I must have miscounted. However, proper spelling and grammar is only only 1 of these 7 points for voting, so, it is not "very important".

I have established a clear impact because if proper grammar and writing was "very important" then time consuming reference books would need to be used because proper grammar is not common knowledge. This would turn people away from this website. My opponent's impact of some debates being easier to read is clearly outweighed by my impact and the fact that communication can occur without proper grammar.

I would like to thank my opponent for this debate. It has been a high quality, thought provoking debate. I look forward to continued use of the site. Thank you and please vote con.
Debate Round No. 3
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by thegodhand 6 years ago
thegodhand
Wie izz conn useingg propoper grammgar?
Posted by ethopia619 6 years ago
ethopia619
Yeah, spelling and grammar are essential... like the one given by gavin.ogden. Great way to use Cherokee's and my debate in a debate.
Posted by RougeFox 6 years ago
RougeFox
I knew going into the debate that I would be arguing a very difficult position. You made better arguments that I was expecting honesty. I think that the argument regarding proofreading strays from the resolution a little bit because it has nothing to do with the importance of grammar/spelling. I also think that my point regarding grammar not being common knowledge still stands, and that within the context of the resolution, my impact outweighs yours. It was a good debate, I like seriously debating topics like this, just like I enjoyed the November PF topic.
Posted by innomen 6 years ago
innomen
Everyday people may use improper grammar or wording, but i have come to expect more from the members of this site. It is very disappointing when i read a strong argument put together with horrific sentences. Yes, it detracts from the coherence of the argument.
Posted by gavin.ogden 6 years ago
gavin.ogden
Your argument was, "there is not enough time to proofread." I rebutted, and debunked that claim by illustrating that it takes 10 minutes to proofread. Simple as that. Also, I established how each point could be the difference between a win and a loss, making that vote very important, indeed. For example, in any sport where points are a factor, every point is very important to that team or individual. You simply disregarded these, as if I had never made mention of them. It was just disappointing, as I thought for sure you would have an argument against. My ideas theoretically should stand, as they were not rebutted. It was still an excellent debate, and I would like to have another, but on a more compelling subject.
Posted by RougeFox 6 years ago
RougeFox
Laziness has nothing to do with the importance of proper grammar and spelling.
Posted by gavin.ogden 6 years ago
gavin.ogden
How did my argument on the importance of a point, and proofreading time, just get thrown out with no proper rebuttal? I certainly hope the voters take this into consideration.
Posted by KatelynnChambers 6 years ago
KatelynnChambers
I think, for this argument, we need a clear definition of what is 'acceptable' grammar, and what is 'unacceptable'.

What grammar or spelling mistakes can we let slide, while still valuing what the writer has to say? What grammatical/spelling errors are just too 'bad' to ignore?

Personally, I'm on pro's side. I'm sick of idiots who can't write fully formed sentences.

(I'm certain the age of texting has something to do with this this generation's ABYSMAL writing habits, ha.)
Posted by Woodycanuck 6 years ago
Woodycanuck
Well, it WOULD have been easier to read... :P j/k!
Posted by RougeFox 6 years ago
RougeFox
Sentences with improper spelling and grammar can still be read, understood, and produce convincing arguments. Improper grammar is used all the time and in many cases it sounds more natural. Although it is improper for sentences to end with a preposition, questions frequently do. For example, compare the following sentences:

"With whom are you going to the party?"
and
"Who are you going to the with?"

The second one uses improper grammar; yet, it is more natural and easier to read. Improper grammar is not always a bad thing.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by ethopia619 6 years ago
ethopia619
gavin.ogdenRougeFoxTied
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Vote Placed by Elmakai 6 years ago
Elmakai
gavin.ogdenRougeFoxTied
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Vote Placed by Rodriguez47 6 years ago
Rodriguez47
gavin.ogdenRougeFoxTied
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Vote Placed by Postup10101 6 years ago
Postup10101
gavin.ogdenRougeFoxTied
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Vote Placed by innomen 6 years ago
innomen
gavin.ogdenRougeFoxTied
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