Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Grammatical Rant

On many writers' listserv I've participated, I've been accused of being an anal language snob, because I keep insisting that, in order to showcase your abilities as a writer, you have to know not only the basic writing techniques, but you also have to be able to use correct spelling and grammar.

English is not my mother tongue, so maybe I've made more efforts at learning it properly than most natives, although I strongly feel that if you want to be a writer, knowing your stuff is the first rule of the day. Now Sarah Bunting, of the Tomato Nation, has summarized everything I feel about bad usage of grammar and spelling mistakes:

"You don't have to know how to spell everything in the dictionary, and you don't have to have the serial-semicolon rule embroidered on a pillow, but if you have reached voting age in the United States, you need to know the basics of English usage, because if you don't, you look like an idiot. No, don't. Don't start with that "grammar Nazi" business. Don't get all "nobody gives a shit about that crap" and "it's so anal, who cares" and "well, you know what I mean." I give a shit about that crap. I know it's anal, but I care, and so do a lot of other people -- people who respect you, but might respect you less when you dash off an email to the effect of "I'll meet you their"; people in a position to give you a job, who won't because you didn't proofread your cover letter and they don't appreciate your addressing them as "Deer Ms. So-And-So." And no, in fact, I don't know what you mean when you write me a hate mail that reads, "You're site sucks," because that doesn't mean anything. Because it's grammatically incorrect. Because you've substituted a contraction of a verb phrase for an adjective, thus rendering the sentence nonsensical. And it makes you look stupid, and therefore I cannot take you seriously."

She continues on by giving specific examples of usual mistakes, so she does put her money where her mouth is, and gives a helping hand to all those people unsure about usage.
Found Sarah's site via Wordlust, another fantastic blog I recently discovered.

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