Why Grammar MattersAs a lover of punctuation and all things vocabulary (yes that includes spelling), often locate errors. Businesses, restaurants, sign makers, etc. fail to grasp this same love; they could care less if it’s hamburgers, hamburger’s, or Hamburgers – meanwhile I’m cringing on the inside, vowing to avoid their hamburgers all together. An obvious typo is one thing (so long as it’s not left on a laminated menu, IHOP), but permanent signage? Why doesn’t someone enlist the help of a copy editor? (I’m available, BTW.)
These errors make a company look unprepared, and as though they’re not serious about their business. Or worse, they recognize the error but think their customers won’t.
As a writer, these factors are only increased. Writing – and by proxy grammar – is your business. You simply can’t afford mistakes.
While some grammar issues are up for interpretation, such as the Oxford Comma and whether or not to put an S after apostrophe (s’ vs. s’s), most instances are clear-cut. Recognize what is and isn’t a grammar mishap and then engrave it into your wordsmithing brain. If something falls out of your knowledge base, ask a fellow writer or head to a trusted resource, such as the AP Stylebook or the OED.
The Pay Off
Of course there will be the occasional in-your-face moment, where a client will say that a spelling and/or phrasing is wrong. Then you get to swoop in, saying “NOPE” and back yourself up with a link. They probably won’t tell you you’re right, but will still allow you to post whatever “mistake” already went live. As for the rest of the time, studying grammar is required of a job well done. (And in my case, pure joy.) Research trusted sites, study the history of the English language (or whatever respective language you’re writing in), and look up each instance before posting. Although tedious, it’s the only way to ensure you’re not introducing unknown mistakes. And, over time, the scenarios will be a memorized source of knowledge, allowing the research process to run much more smoothly.
For an added dose of grammar knowledge, check back in to Hullabaloo’s blog for history, exceptions, and everything else you never wanted to know about grammar.
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