For the love of God, don’t be afraid of my wrath!

Ever since I started this blog a year and a half ago, people have been afraid to email me.

The comments are often tossed offhand.  “I probably have bad grammar on that email.”  “Wow, I actually said their instead of there in that IM.”

I tell the same thing to my blog readers, my friends and my colleagues:

Do not, under any circumstances, be afraid that I’m going to criticize you!

I don’t nitpick your writing.  I don’t care about that.  Of course, if you write the entire thing without any punctuation, yeah, I’ll notice.

But, seriously: this blog is about advertisements and businesses and professional writing.  In short, writing that should be proofread before being presented to the public.

I care about professionalism.  When Reebok omits a necessary comma in a prominent advertisement, I’m turned off by the brand.  When I call a doctor for the first time and the receptionist at a doctor’s office says, “Was you in a accident?” I look elsewhere.

I value professionalism, and to me, bad grammar represents a lack of professionalism.

In conclusion, don’t be afraid that I’m mocking your writing!  If you’re on this blog, you probably know what you’re doing more than most other people, anyway.

Also — thank you for all the emails!  It’s going to take a long time to go through all of them, but I appreciate them greatly.

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15 responses to “For the love of God, don’t be afraid of my wrath!

  1. Thank you for your effort in creating and maintaining this blog. Your work here will benefit all who visit regularly. I know I will.

  2. I will be one of your blog reader. For sure!

  3. Sew glad that you dont pique on ladle miss steaks. Awl keep that in mind be four rye ding.

  4. I feel the same way. Casual writing is just fine with me when folks text, IM, send personal e-mail or post on their blogs (unless the writing is sooooo bad as to make it difficult to understand). But professional communication should adhere to a higher standard with correct spelling, punctuation and orthography.

  5. Hi.

    Nice blog! I love that you are easily able to make the distinction between calling professional publications/corporations on their stupid, they-can-certainly-afford-to-pay-someone-to-catch-those-mistakes errors and ordinary folks who confuse it’s and its.

    As a professional editor, I also notice mistakes everywhere – and I shake my head, wondering how the writers of “West Wing” could possibly write dialogue for the Chief of Staff that includes the phrase “me and Josh met with the President this morning.”

    But I draw the line at correcting the ordinary person’s errors. Yes, I see them. Yes, sometimes it makes me worry about certain people. But I would NEVER go out of my way to critique someone else’s writing – unless they were paying me to do so. (OK, the one exception would be my 17-year-old niece who sometimes still gets sloppy.)

    There is a gal in my Toastmasters club who, I think, would cross the street to tell someone, “It’s heroine, not hero.” It’s as if she is personally offended at the thought that there are people out there in the world (almost all of them) who speak and write English grammar incorrectly. My god, if I actually let it bother me because my personal trainer is not the king of spelling, I’d have no friends and live in a constant state of agita.

    Keep up the good work. I’ll certainly be checking in regularly!

    Laura

  6. You’re performing a valuable service, something that I wish was unnecessary. There is nothing as frustrating as reading a newspaper or magazine article or a book that seems to have been written by a 3rd grade student. There are no more proofreaders.
    My kids refer to me as the Grammar-Master or Spellcheck. They think that I am a strange man because I insist that they learn the difference in “there”, “they’re” and “their”.
    Thank you.

  7. In that case, here’s an article that might be of interest to you:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28900351/

    Seems there’s a growing throng of grammar vandals. You’ve started something.

  8. i feel the same way about professional writing vs. e.mail/text/blog, etc. people lose credibility when they publicly represent themselves without taking a moment to proofread. in this context, who needs credibility? mocking others is too much fun to waste time censoring comments, lol! i LOVE this blog…and your red sharpie :)

  9. I love the idea of a Grammar Vandal! I discovered your blog through the MSNBC article. The professor of my English class showed the article to our class today. We spent most of the class period in lively discussion about grammar, communication, professionalism, and why these concepts are important.

  10. @phxazlaura: Do you really think that the writers of a show like the West Wing don’t know proper grammar? It seems to me that they are just trying to inject a bit of realism in their dialogue, which is usually much more lively than listening to people speak absolutely perfect English.

  11. I was glad to read of your grammar ways. I have always been able to spell and poor spelling or bad grammar just jumps out at me. I don’t mean for it to, I thought maybe I was just too picky. I’m glad there so many others like me. I am a nurse and my director of nursing could not spell. I was in the same office with her and she would always ask me how to spell something or proofread. I was used to her and it didn’t bother me in that situation. I always joked with her that she must have been sick that week in school when they studied those words .

  12. I become just as vexed when people refer to chiropracters as doctors.

  13. Did someone actually say, “Was you in an accident?” I’m an administrative assistant and that just gets me. How did she pass business college? Or maybe that’s why there is business college… I was wondering. It seemed like a grand waste of time and money to me.

  14. I was in the ladies room and noticed a sign on the door:

    “Welcome Ladies…

    please remember to be respectful to others and clean up after yourselves…”

    I was looking at that and I was wondering is that correct?

    I keep thinking it should be

    “please remember to be respectful of others and clean up after yourself…”

    What do you think?

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