Through the years, I’ve met a lot of people who don’t take their grammar seriously. Even folks who write for a living don’t take it as seriously as they should. They have this thought in their heads that as long as they have an idea to express, that’s most of what they need. They think that as long as they express it, their readers will understand their message, no matter how sloppy it is. I’m here to make the case that these people are wrong and that they should make some changes when it comes to their writing. And since this section is about blogging, I’ll refer to writing blog posts from here on out.
Imagine bring your beloved car into a body shop to get it repainted. Imagine the work has been completed and when you inspected it, the paint job was absolutely terrible. Sure, it covered every last inch of what it was supposed to cover, but there were dull spots and drips all over the place. And what’s worse, the body shop workers didn’t do a good job with their taping, so paint made its way onto the window moldings and the windows themselves. Would you be happy with this situation? Would you pay the body shop owner for the work that was completed? If you are the type of person who doesn’t care about your grammar, you should pay for the work that was done. After all, the paint covered what it was supposed to, right? Sure, paying attention to details may have helped things look better in the end, but everyone will sort of get the idea that the car has paint on it. Do you see where I’m going with this?
People like shiny things as much as they enjoy good, polished writing. Good grammar makes a huge difference and there aren’t many other ways to lose a reader faster than to have horrible grammar when it comes to writing. Remember, readers notice all sorts of things and make subconscious decisions based on what they interact with. They notice all sorts of things when they read and they care greatly about them. After all, they wouldn’t be reading if they didn’t.
The Importance of Punctuation
If you take nothing more from this post than what I’m about to share with you, I’ll at least know you learned something important. I want you to realize that about 99.9% of the people who read your blog posts, you’ve never met and never will meet. They don’t know you. Sure, they may know you through what you’ve shared with them in the past via your website, but they don’t truly know your intentions with what you write and with what you share. It’s because of this that you need to be extra careful with what you convey on the pages of your blog. This is all most of your readers have to go on. Every single letter, dot and piece of punctuation will be taken literally, as well it should. It is literal, after all.
Let me give you a few examples. Let’s say you wrote a post one day when you really weren’t in the mood to write. You got lazy with your prose and made a few grammatical errors with your punctuation. What you meant to convey was that a girl said that someone was right (correct). The sentence should have read like this:
Mia Charlotte said you are right.
But because your fingers were moving too quickly as you typed, you inadvertently added some punctuation that wasn’t supposed to be there. This is what you wrote:
Mia, Charlotte said you are, right?
Here’s another example of what you could have written:
Mia, Charlotte said you are right.
Mia Charlotte said you are right?
Do you see where I’m going with this? Do you notice how each example sentence above means something entirely different than the intended meaning? A lonely comma here or a question mark there can alter the entire structure of the sentence. Have you ever read a sentence like this one below?
I was wondering if you were going to go tonight?
The above sentence is a statement, not a question, therefore there shouldn’t be a question mark attached to the end of it. I see this all the time. Because it’s a statement, there should be a period instead of a question mark. What the author of that line meant to write was:
Are you going tonight?
That would have been suffice.
While these are only a few examples of what’s possible, I believe that we can agree that grammar is important when it comes to blogging. We work hard to build our audiences and it’s critical that we keep them reading our posts by maintaining clear and concise writing. After all, every single one of our readers was a first time reader at some point and we should remember that we only get one chance to make a first impression. We better get it right.
I’ll be writing many posts on writing as it pertains to blogging in this forum. If you have something to add to any of them, please do so below each post. I look forward to reading your ideas!