Monday, June 22, 2009

From the Grammar Geek

I admit it. I'm an incurable grammar geek. I can't help it. I'm sure it's genetic. My mom is an English teacher. My sister is a technical writer. It took almost no time at all before the rest of the Slushbusters discovered this and started asking me the grammar questions. I have proof. Just look at Sarah's comment in this post last week.

I get it that blogging is not about grammar, spelling or punctuation. Really, I do. But for the love of the language, people, please stop using apostrophes to indicate plural words! (Not, "Please stop using apostrophe's to indicate plural word's.) I am not pointing fingers. This was not a Slushbuster offense. In fact, it wasn't even on a blog. It was on facebook. And it wasn't alone. The misuses of words and punctuation are all over the Internet, including blogs by writers. The copy editor who lives in my brain can't take it anymore. Please take a moment to proofread before you post. Can The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White be required reading for everyone who owns a computer? Seriously, if you are reading this and don't already own a copy, buy one. It is one of the least expensive and most valuable books you can own as a writer.

Okay, rant over. Now for the good news. I was reading something earlier that used grammar I wasn't sure about. I Googled the usage and stumbled on this blog. It made my heart flutter. Not only does it address grammar questions, but also technical issues of our time. Roy Jacobson might just be my language soul mate. It's too soon to tell, but it looks good so far.

Oh, and while I'm on the subject, I'd like to apologize to anyone whose grammar I corrected in conversation in the '80's. I was in high school. I didn't know how rude and idiotic I sounded.


Tess said...

I have Strunk and Whites and STILL suck at grammar. It's not intentional, I think it is genetic as well ;)

Lisa said...

I get really bent out of shape about misuse of grammar in advertising. Like when they put random words in quotes. Second pair "free" it really free or are they just teasing?

Yesterday I got a letter from an insurance broker and there were 3 typos/grammatical errors. I circled them in red pen.

Michelle said...

Tess, I know these things are unintentional. Your grammar is just fine. It's the oft-repeated common mistakes that really bug me.

Wow, Lisa, I don't even know where my red pen is. That's seriously old school.

Davin Malasarn said...

I care about grammar. I also thinks it's a lot of fun. But, regarding the facebook typos, my guess is that they result from writing quickly rather than true misunderstanding. At least that's my hope!

Sarah said...

Ooooo! Go Michelle!

I don't claim any special giftedness when it comes to grammar- as is obvious from the link. : )


This there/their/they're or it's/its stuff drives me nuts. I'm not saying folks should automatically know it, but at least be aware of it and check. Like I do every. single. time. with recommend. (How many c's? How many m's?)

Its so hard to respect someone when their unable to write grammatically.

(Yes ... I meant to do that.)

And welcome, David! Good to have you.

Christopher Goodwine said...

If I die someday from a stroke or a heart attack, it will be because of apostrophe abuse.

Michelle said...


Recommend and accommodate are two words I still can't spell consistently. And also license. (Although I'm trying hard to get them right here!)

I did carry my little rant with me to the library, and put a copy of Elements of Style on the "Michelle's Picks" shelf. To balance it out, I also put up a copy of Bird By Bird.

Christopher, as an EMT do you have information about the fatal nature of apostrophes that the rest of us hadn't heard yet? Welcome to the discussion!