February 25

Me Tarzan, You Jane

1-IMG_4645It absolutely astounds me just how badly some otherwise educated people write. I was reading a post today about a technical issue, and it was mostly gibberish—not because the technical information was beyond me (even though, admittedly, it probably was), but because of sentences like the following: “Want stay in the web business might start learning how to bake and ship cupcakes.” Me Tarzan, you Jane.

It may be that he was trying to say, “Those who want to stay in the web business . . .” but who knows for sure? And trust me, there were other sentences with syntax that was even more tortured.

I chose this particular sentence because I think I know what the author was trying to say (though I’m not entirely sure). I did not cite other sentences that made no sense at all, because I am sure the author would say I could not understand them simply because I am not technically astute enough (as if bad grammar and syntax were irrelevant).

I suspect that the failure to communicate here was simply the result of publishing a first draft rather than reviewing the material. Posting is too easy, isn’t it? That “Publish” button sits there on the page, begging you to click on it. But before you succumb to that temptation, take a few minutes to READ (not skim) what you have written. Is it going to be understandable to those of us who do not live inside your brain? If you don’t take the time to double-check what you’ve written, you may fail to communicate. And no matter how technically smart you are, your credibility will suffer if you end up with sentences that make you sound like George of the Jungle.

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Posted February 25, 2015 by Dave Fessenden in category "Uncategorized


  1. By Deb Gardner Allarad on

    I am chuckling at the fact that you didn’t get the sentence. You must be young. The Tarzan movies were made close to 50 years ago. The sentence reflected how Tarzan spoke: Me Tarzan, you Jane. Want cookies? Me want cookies. Me get cookies for Jane. Tarzan was a man who grew up in the jungle among the apes.

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