Thursday, May 5, 2011

All My Teacher Saw Was The Mess

I have read several blog posts this week that contained some typographical errors.  That's not a big deal, but it reminded me of the time I read a very important piece by an intelligent and thoughtful writer on another blog site.  In it was a grammatical error that was surely unintentional.  So I did the civil thing.  In a comment, I complimented his article and then politely inform him of the error.  Surprisingly, another bitingly critical commenter referred to me as the "grammar police."

Okay, so what?  I don't care about the criticism from some ignorant twit who thinks I shouldn't be so high-minded; I have thick skin.  But I am somewhat reticent to offer my help anymore.

Many of you bloggers will agree; this blogging thing is not easy.  I spend lots of time trying to organize my thoughts and then compose the article.  Then I edit, and re-edit, and edit again.  Then, when my composition is finished, I check for spelling and typographical errors, I look for redundancies, I check definitions and word usage, I check grammar, and I examine it for clarity.  I read it, and read it, and reread it again.  After that comes the page composition.  Selecting and importing images; selecting font styles, type size, and text emphases are all integral parts of the total construction.

When it is finished, I click on that "PUBLISH POST" button and it is sent into cyberspace for all the world to see.  Then I open and view it on my blog site and, to my horror, I find more mistakes that need correcting.

No boasting is intended here, but there is a point to all this.  I write, as I'm sure you do also, because I have something I want to say and a few people might actually read it.  So I don't want errors to become unnecessary distractions from the message (in another post, "Nose-Picking Preachers," I addressed this issue as it pertains to public speakers).   When your reader is distracted by a technical error, your message gets muddied.  That's like the breakfast juice I spilled on my seventh-grade grade English composition; I thought the paper was good but all my teacher saw was the mess.

So for all you grammar Nazis, I just want to go on record here to say, THANK YOU!

I welcome any and all constructive critiques that come my way.  I know how it embarrasses me when I go back and reread my own stuff and discover errors that I have missed.  I try to fix them immediately before others have a chance to read it.  So why would I not appreciate someone else's courtesy in pointing those things out to me?  Of course, I would!  Wouldn't You?

Thanks again for your help,

Update - March 10, 2016.  This post was originally published in May of 2011.  Today I use a new editing tool called Grammarly.  It is much more than a spell-checker.  It's free and it saves lots of time.  As I am sitting here adding this update, I am watching Grammarly in action.  It is signaling, right now, that there are at least five errors in this post in which I was certain had been proofed several times and was fixed.  Not so.  I am correcting it now.
I recommend that every serious blogger downloads the free version of Grammarly.  You will not regret it.

And Thanks to you also, Grammarly. 

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