How important is proper grammar for a blog? My friend, Eric Deckers, a great writer I respect, who (or is it “whom?”) has written for newspapers for more than 20 years, said he never learned when to use “who” or “whom,” and didn’t care. Another writer/editor friend, whose work I thoroughly enjoy, was uncertain about when to use “that” vs. “which.” What is a restrictive clause anyway? My point is that even highly trained and experienced writers don’t know it all. Although one should know the rules before breaking them, we shouldn’t let proper grammar and tradition get in the way of writing, especially when blogging.
How Important is Proper Grammar for a Blog?
Writing the Right Way
Don’t get me wrong, good grammar counts and should be followed and used, but not unconditionally. For example, on this blog, I loosely follow AP style as long as it is consistent with the post’s feel and voice. For instance, while it’s considered correct to spell out numbers one through nine, I sometimes break this rule for emphasis in post titles, subheads, or as part of a keyword phrase.
I nearly always use the oxford comma. I occasionally split an infinitive, begin a sentence with a conjunction, end a sentence with a preposition, and I use a passive voice when it fits. Although I refer to Strunk & White’s Elements of Style, it doesn’t mean I always adhere to those guidelines. Like any art or philosophy, there are extremes on both sides. There are those who follow no rules, those who follow every rule, and everything in between. (Do I really need the “in” with between? And do I really need really?) Whatever the case, our writing should be consistent, mindful, and properly communicated to our audiences.
But Wait, There’s More
Here’s another example of writing tradition getting in the way of writing. There’s a tradition of using double spaces between sentences. Teachers taught this for many years. It originated when people using typewriters attempted to mimic traditional typesetting. There is no other reason for this, yet people continue to use double spaces on their laptops. For many readers, the double spaces are distracting and annoying.
What’s Right for You?
Whether Hemingway said, “Write drunk, edit sober” or not, it’s good advice. It’s essential to allow creative freedom when writing and just as crucial to reign it in when editing. What may get in the way is overzealously following or breaking the rules. Know the rules, then write what’s right for you.
How Can I Help You?
Let me know if I can offer any help or advice. If this post struck a nerve, you might want to check out my book, How to Stay Ahead of Your Business Blog Forever. The book is full of action plans for you to create a blogging/writing system that works for you.
If you enjoyed this post, you might also like, How to Defeat Writer’s Block.
Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash