Friday, March 8, 2013

Where did grammar go?

A little writing fun :)
I was having fun coming up with potential titles for this post and thought I'd share a few:

Mistakes that make BANK!

u kno u want to read thissss

Grammar & Syntax - they DO exist! 
(yes, this is a take on the M&M's commercial)

I was inspired to write this post a few days ago while reading a pretty popular blog. I won't mention what blog, it's not important, but let's just say that the writer isn't a professional though they are pretty well known for their topic and their writing (lots of followers/page views/etc.).  I know - slightly cryptic - but it got me thinking...

You see, I read a sentence that, in my humble writer's opinion, could have been formed more clearly.  In fact, there were several errors and I found myself stopping to wonder, "What happened to grammar and syntax?"

There are lots of great writers out there, but I feel like most of the time a blog is littered with grammar and syntax errors, not to mention the slang and cultural phrases that are used (I fully include myself in this, just so you know).  A well-composed post is a rarity. 

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that new generations are all about being heard and not so much about the means, but either way - poor writing skills are accepted. I'd even go so far as to say they are encouraged.

Texting conversation example
I believe social media is to blame. 

Blame may sound harsh. I hear you all out there shouting, "But I love my Facebook!" or "Where would I be without Twitter?" and I'd unashamedly have to join in with that, but I have to admit it's affected a lot more than just my free time on the computer.

With the age of emailing, text-ing, and Facebook-ing, a whole new type of communication has emerged.  It's now fine to forget capitalizing "I", to replace "you" with "u", to type "haha" and have it mean something is funny, and to incorporate all sorts of acronyms like "lol", "brb", "btw", or "rotfl" (to name a few). Introduce blogs to this scene and it makes sense why we would be content reading something that isn't as polished as we've been used to in the past.

Don't get me wrong, I think the freedom you have in a blog format is a great thing (obviously, because you are currently reading my thoughts on my blog).  I guess, more than anything, being a writer and a blogger, I struggled with how much I can "break" writing rules and still feel justified in publishing what I've written for all to see.

I'm always surprised to find highly successful blogs that aren't as polished as I think they should be. That's not true for all successful blogs, but there are many that write in all lower case or write from a conversational standpoint that is less "professional" sounding.  I'd even go as far as to say that these type of blogs, the ones that draw you in due to the real-ness of the author, are some of the most successful (but that's just my opinion).

What does that mean for writers?

This question depends on what you are writing about and who your writing for.

The one thing I am concerned about is if this acceptance of error will drastically affect readers - I'm talking book readers, not blog readers necessarily. Will authors have to change up their writing in the future to cater to a lack of interest in proper English and a taste for slang? There have been many studies done about the decrease in recreational reading already. I wonder if that will continue, or just change to online articles, blogs, and eBooks only?

What do you think? 

>>Do you have a blog where you just like to write out thoughts without having to agonize over proper grammar and syntax? Who is your audience?

>>If you're a reader, do you enjoy reading polished articles, thrown together posts, or does it matter to you?

>>If you're an author, do you think blogs and online outlets will negatively affect "solid" literature? [I say "solid" not to put any one type of book above another, just to delineate between casual, blog-type writing versus published/novel length literature]

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic in the comments below!


  1. You're talking to a former English teacher here. Thus, for me, all of those grammar and spelling mistakes stick out. I think as a writer now, I'm even worse about noticing and feeling that red-pen hand twitch.
    As a homeschool mom the texting craze hasn't helped my efforts to produce a good speller out of my daughter.
    To take the topic even further - I worry about where our next creative writers of fiction will come from when most everything our kids are involved in like games and TV require no imagination.
    I can vouch for my publisher and probably most right now to say they still require imagination and strict adherence to grammar and spelling rules.

    1. I've been wondering those same things Paula! I volunteer with high school youth and so many of them "hate" to read. It breaks my heart because I feel they are missing out on so much!

      I am encouraged when my students and I stand around chatting and have funny "what if" conversations that use imagination (for example: a student says, "What if this happened" and then another student will chime in with "Yeah, and then this" and it goes on and on). Its entertaining and reminds me that imagination isn't totally dead, but I feel it's not encouraged as much and the outlets are limited to funny topics or video games.