Thursday, February 25, 2010
Do Bloggers Need to Worry About Grammar?
Not necessarily. It depends on the goal of your writing. If you have a personal blog that acts as a diary and is only read by family or friends, don't think twice about what you write and how. Likewise if you are simply chatting with old friends on any social networking site.
And if you're selling something, potential buyers will click away in a heartbeat if they see that you don't know the difference between its and it's, or CD's and CDs. On your blog, e-zine, website, e-mail or social networking, you need to watch your language — and I'm not talking about sounding like Eminem or Denis Leary. I'm talking about using proper grammar and spelling.
Is it safe to rely on your spell-check? Not always. It's not 100% accurate like a calculator. It will miss all kinds of homonyms or any word that is spelled properly but misused. And the spell-check in blogger or other blog software is nowhere near as good as that in Microsoft Word. I recommend writing your blog post in Word, spell-checking it there, and then cutting and pasting it into your site. That's a hassle but you're far more likely to have a polished product that way.
I'm a book coach, an author, and an editor; out of the 50 full-length manuscripts that I've edited, I've noticed a common thread. Most people make the same mistakes. They write run-on sentences, not knowing when to use semicolons, colons, periods and dashes. (They also don't know the difference between an em dash and an en dash — do you?) They stumble over word usage, becoming confused about when to use loath and loathe, further and farther, or lesser and fewer. Almost everyone misuses apostrophes and puzzles over the plural or the possessive.