Being a Grammar Nazis and other things that ruin an otherwise good read.

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I was reading a blog a couple of days ago about effective ways to create a better morning routine. The article mostly contained common sense advice, but then I came across this passage and the article lost some of it’s authority:

I’m astounded by the number of people who have a cup of coffee first thing in the morning, before they’ve even had a tall glass of water. Hydrate, people! Your body is dehydrated after 8 hours of sleep, so please give it the nourishment that it needs. If you want to get fancy, you can alternate each morning between lemon water (room temperature water with a bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice stirred into it) or apple cider vinegar water (just rinse your teeth afterward so that the acids don’t harm your tooth enamel).

If your listening to carefully to how your body feels after consuming that first tall glass of water right after waking, you’ll likely notice a positive improvement. This is a terrific way to prime your body for an enjoyable and productive day ahead.

The problem is even if you put the science of hydration aside, the glaring grammatical errors on that short section distracted me away from the content and quality of the writing diminishing the value of the blogger’s words. If writers want to present themselves as professionals who write up to the gold standard of writing – that is writing that is free of spelling, punctuation, usage and grammar (SPUG) errors – then it is essential that they edit, edit, edit.

New year resolution grammar

Being a writer is about expressing meaning, sharing ideas and writing in a way that allows the narrative to be conveyed without the writer’s hand being seen. SPUG errors distract from the writer’s narrative whether that is on an online chat room board, a blog or within their novels, short stories and poetry. Of course there will always be some human error, but the modern writer not only has to perfect the art and craft of writing they have to market themselves to publishers and the reading public as a professional writer. Blogs form part of the personal persona that is crucial for writers marketing themselves to be self published and/or traditionally published. Publishing companies want to establish that a writer has developed a suitable size following online to help secure sale figures. If you self publish then it is essential to make sure you have a positive public persona, otherwise how else will you be noticed among the plethora of other new and established writers? If you do not edit your blogs and get your writing professionally edited by a third party before you publish you will diminish the value of your work and send grammar Nazi’s across the world into a frenzy looking for the red pen to correct your work. On a more serious note, if you want people to read your writing, provide positive reviews and offer word of mouth recommendation of your work to other potential readers then worm out those SPUG errors before you hit send.

firefighters grammar 2

Being a grammar Nazi is perhaps a valuable quality in a writer, but it can ruin some otherwise pleasant reading. Did your eye turn to the mistakes in the quoted paragraph and make you cringe? Is it perhaps easier to see errors in others’ writing because with our own writing we know full well what it is that we are trying to say and therefore become blind to glaring mistakes in our work? I know when I look back at my own writing it is only after a significant break that I can begin to see the errors in what I have written. I find that errors in my work are often a gap between what I meant and what I typed, a momentary short circuit between the message from my brain to my hand. Of course I will never catch all the errors in my writing, but I am aware that grammar is not my strongest point and that I need to focus on it. Before any of my novels are made available to the public I will certainly ensure that they are professionally edited. How embarrassing would it be to complain about spelling, grammar, usage and punctuation errors only for reviews of my work to be criticised for them.

I have my red ‘correcting’ pen at the ready.

About V C Willow

V C Willow has always loved to write and read for pleasure. During her teenage years she wrote a lot of poetry but graduated to writing Science Fiction, Fantasy, Epic Fiction, Urban Fantasy and Suspense as she reached her twenties. She is a geek and comic nerd. A very keen reader, an enthusiastic cook and gardener and loves to craft. She's even been known to get down and dirty and do some DIY. V.C live in Manchester, England with her ball of cat fluff, Willow. She is currently writing her début fantasy novel. You can follow her authors page on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/vcwillow Connect with her on Linked in at: uk.linkedin.com/pub/vc-willow/4b/b90/521 Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/inquisitivevic Follow her on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5563938-v-c-willow )O(
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5 Responses to Being a Grammar Nazis and other things that ruin an otherwise good read.

  1. Dabbler says:

    How else will you be notice?
    Muphry’s Law…
    Sorry.
    But wholeheartedly agree. 😀

    • V C Willow says:

      I was just saying to a commenter on linkedin the other day that it doesn’t matter how many times I edit, rewrite and check my blogs it’s not until a post is uploaded that I notice those last couple of errors. Except here it even seems to have fallen through my safety net of reading the blog once it is uploaded. I think most text is likely to be subject to a small margin of human error, it’s just ironic for one to slip through on a post ranting that spelling, punctuation, usage and grammar should be correct.

      I will of course correct the error and hang my head in shame!

      Warm regards

      V.C.

      • Dabbler says:

        lol! The irony was not lost on me…and I did wonder if it wasn’t actually a deliberate error to test us all. I am a grammar nazi but not a typo nazi. I just couldn’t resist. Sometimes I simply can’t help myself…surely there should be a support group somewhere?

      • V C Willow says:

        well I’ll agree to le you be co-founder of SPUG Anonymous if you agree that the entry requirements are a four test SPUG examination, a short course in ‘dealing with Muggles (non Grammar Nazi’s)’ for all members and that the passing out ceremony for completing and passing the initiation is the presentation of a scroll and the sacred pens of correction (a red pen and a bottle of Tipp-Ex) 🙂

  2. jamie says:

    I am horrible at punctuation, so because of this I don’t feel like I can correct anyone’s grammar or spelling. To tell the truth I am much more of a speech nazi. Don’t “axe” me a question. I had an English teacher once who used “irregardless” constantly. It made me want to bang my head on my desk.

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