Thursday, August 2, 2012

Getting Serious About Grammar


I recently blogged about the Grammar Police, those social media friends who are compelled to correct tweets and Facebook statuses down to the last comma. But now it's time to be serious about grammar, punctuation and basic language skills. In writing, in business, in self-promotion it is very important to work towards perfection.

Yes, perfection.

I just visited a website for a company that writes press releases for various organizations and individuals and distributes the releases to publications for use. Their website was riddled with errors. I debated about sending the company an email to alert them (and ask if they'd like to hire a proofreader) and in the end decided: no. Honestly, if I sent emails to every website I visit that has errors, it would be an unpaid part-time job. So I have to pick and choose.

Joe's car wash? Yes, I would email them. Joe is probably just a decent, small business man that is trying to make a living by washing cars. Although he may not be particularly tech savvy, he does understand the importance of a web presence and probably hired his cousin to build a website for him. Joe may appreciate the heads up and possibly be receptive to the idea of a proof reader. I like Joe already.

But a PR firm? Aren't they advertising their exceptional writing abilities? Not only would I not hire them, but I would suggest they hire an editor. I can only imagine the email I would get in reply:

"Thanks for visiting our websigh. Are you interested on any of our servics?" (No, really not, thanks.)

Which brings me to the point of this blog. I don't expect everyone to be perfect. I'm certainly not. But, writers, or editors, or businesses that are in the business of selling their writing want to be taken seriously. Therefore, they should at least try to make their marketing material, or self-promotion, error-free.
 
Use an editor or a proofreader if you have to. Graciously accept and acknowledge those who find an error and let you know so that you can fix it.  Strive toward perfection.

Check out my (meant to be humorous) blog about the Grammar Police.

12 comments:

Diana Lesire Brandmeyer said...

Good point, but if everything was correct we would only have spellchecked text messages to make us laugh.

Suzanne Shumaker said...

Businesses of the world need KSG's services.

Beth Garland said...

Spot on, sister. And Suzanne Shumaker is correct. Business and serious writers need your services. The proposal you wrote for me is getting a lot of attention from agents.

Rob Greene said...

I agree wholeheartedly. Problem is, grammar changes depending on audience and messenger. "The Elements of Style" and "The Associated Press Stylebook" don't always agree. Some fancy-pants authors (cough-Joyce Maynard, Matt Bondurant, Cormac McCarthy, James Joyce) don't use quotation marks in dialog. Business and professional writing is slowly doing away with articles like "a," "an," and "the." Where do we draw the line?

Kelly Stone Gamble said...

True. Or Facebook. It is always a fun place to get a laugh.

Kelly Stone Gamble said...

Not me! I'm horrible at grammar, that's why I hang out with smart people and editors.

Kelly Stone Gamble said...

I enjoyed writing the book proposal. I'll enjoy it more if you sell your book with it.

Kelly Stone Gamble said...

Agreed, Rob. But I'm talking about using the word 'manor' instead of 'manner', Not capitalizing at the beginning of a sentence or three. A favorite sentence from the website above: 'We will show you how do to this.'

Ciara Ballintyne said...

How does one 'do away' with 'a', 'an', and 'the'??? Clearly not a trend I am familiar with, or otherwise I have dismissed such businesses as illiterate!

Bad spelling/grammar in business signage drives me nuts, and not the hard stuff either - just stuff like the apostrophe of possession.

Kelly Stone Gamble said...

When you read post, you make comment and author will respond. ---Agree, Ciara, losing the articles sounds like a caveman wrote it.

Christopher Chik said...

Grammatical arete! Huah!

Kelly Stone Gamble said...

arete. Thanks. I needed a new Words with Friends word. :)