telebikun (telebikun) wrote in thequestionclub,

Am I just being a jerk?

I recently posted an ad seeking an intern. While this intern will be charged with a bunch of relatively non-taxing administrative stuff, he or she will also be expected to do quite a lot of writing. I guess I have pretty high standards for this sort of thing (I write for a living), but I'm trying to figure out if I'm going too far by refusing to call the one applicant I've received an application from on the grounds described below. You tell me, TQC: Am I going too far?

Her writing samples contain multiple cases of one of my grammatical pet peeves--the misused apostrophe. She's missing several apostrophes in plural possessive structures (for example, writing "Americans" where it ought to be "Americans'") and, in one particularly shocking instance, seems to have formed a nominative plural with 's.

Just as irritating to me, she's used "they" as a singular form--essentially, as a synonym for "he or she."

I recognize that the apostrophe mistakes would likely slip through an automated spell check. I also recognize that the second mistake is really, really common nowadays. But it's still wrong, and it hurts my eyes to look at it. In my book, either of these mistakes is enough to make me conclude that her writing skills are not strong enough for the task at hand.

What do you think--should I call her anyway, even though it gives me a bad feeling that I'm going to have to copy-edit everything she writes for me?

ETA: I'm going to wait a week. If I don't get an applicant with flawless writing samples, I'm going to bring her in for an interview. While I have some lingering concerns, and will tell her not to use singular "they" in anything she writes for me, her work experience, enthusiasm, and good recommendations make her a strong candidate apart from these relatively small glitches. Wish her, and me, luck.

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