As I explained in Blog Etiquette I think it’s really important as a blogger to read other peoples’ blogs, particularly those of your personal readership.
I love to read, and so reading other blogs is definitely not a chore. It can, however, prove extremely irksome, for one reason.
I’m a wordy … I LOVE words. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy writing so much. I like to play with words, and images, and word play. And encompassed in all of that is GRAMMAR.
Now, I’m not talking about anything too high-tech. I know that blogging is like documented chatter, and that often grammatical rules get stretched, because, like I discussed in The Author, The Journalist and The Blogger, blogging is a very different kind of craft. However, that’s no excuse to be sloppy, ESPECIALLY when your blog is about writing!
I’ve come across not one, but several blogs by writers, where they have misused apostrophes! Come on, surely that’s something we learnt about at the age of ten? Simple plural nouns don’t have apostrophes. With singular possessive nouns, the apostrophe comes before the S, with plural possessive nouns, the apostrophe comes after the S. Surely it’s not that hard?
Sorry to sound like a nag, but I think this also links back to Getting Represented. Everyone makes the odd mistake, but if you want to be taken seriously as writer, you need to at least have basic grammar nailed. I know if I were a literary agent, with a huge slush pile at my fingertips, then spotting huge grammatical errors in the introduction to someone’s work, would definitely put me off – a great example of this is describing yourself as a kid’s author. Is that just the one kid? Do you only write for one specific child?
When I was on my pre-university Gap Year, I taught English and American Cultural Studies at a Chinese university. True story …. don’t even get me started on what a joke system it was that a 19 year old could become a university lecturer, but I did it for 6 months, and absolutely loved it.
My students were in their early twenties, and I soon began to see them as friends rather than students.
In China ALL students are expected to sit an English grammar test before university, regardless of whether they are planning on studying English. For fun, a group of my students gave me the test to sit. If I scored over 98% they would buy me dinner, if I scored less, I would buy all of them dinner. I think I scored around 93 or 94%.
Now at the time I was probably the brightest and most engaged student I have ever been. Fresh out of A Levels, with an A in English Literature under my belt, and a place at Cambridge University awaiting me, I tried to explain to them, that I was probably an unusually bright English person. And yet, they simply couldn’t fathom why an English native speaker wasn’t able to score 100% on a test about her own language!
The test highlighted how many grammatical errors have become commonplace in our mother tongue. And whilst this CAN be used for slight errors in sentence structure and syntax, it shouldn’t wash over the fact that the simplest of grammatical rules are being let slip because of the prevalence of text speech and abbreviation.
Ok, so Twitter only allows you 140 characters … but the real world doesn’t! (As evidenced by my epic blog-posts!) So don’t cut corners, otherwise you may well be cutting out (more pedantic!) readers like me 🙂