Recently, I received a ‘promotional’ email, which began: ‘Towards Maturity, the government (sic) funded organisation targeted at improving technology at work, are (sic) currently hosting a white paper by ourselves (sic) on the future of the L&D profession and the drive towards online learning… The Digital Learning Company is a business which focuses on supporting companies in the transition from tradition (sic) training to adopting an online learning strategy…’


Comment: The email purported to come from the Digital Learning Company’s Business Development Director but I have my suspicions. After all, can anyone who is obviously that senior in an organisation have such a low level of literacy that she would allow this email’s linguistic travesties to see the light of day?


For one thing, ‘Towards Maturity’ is a single entity, so ‘are’ is incorrect in the first sentence. Second, local government is spelt with a lower case ‘g’, whereas the Government – which can be said to fund Towards Maturity – is always denoted with a capital letter. Third, presumably the email meant ‘is hosting a whitepaper which we have written’. Finally – I’d better stop after this because I wouldn’t want to be accused of being pedantic – the transition in question is likely to be from ‘traditional training’ rather than from ‘training about tradition’ which it seems to be suggesting.


How can you give credence to any organisation – and its partner by association – that commits so many linguistic solecisms in one brief email? Maybe the Digital Learning Company should be dealing with ‘towards literacy’ rather than Towards Maturity.