Wear a Clean Shirt

UnknownI’m a stickler for grammar details. I hate when I make mistakes and I hate when I see published errors. It’s sloppiness that can and should be cleaned up.

Not a valid excuse, but I know that when I make a mistake, it’s usually because I’m moving too fast. Too quick to hit send, too quick to want to reply, too quick to answer.

In being too quick, what I’m really being is lazy, which often leads to the sloppiness and errors I detest.

Recently, I sent an email that said, “Guess who’s daughter…” Ouch that hurt when the error was pointed out to me. In my mind, my first thought that I was going to write was “guess whose class.” Then I switched sentences, but not grammar, obviously. Not an excuse, just an explanation…and still not acceptable.

Grammar mistakes happen. But they shouldn’t. If we all slowed down a little, took the take the time to write what we mean, and then take just a bit more time to proof what we write, clean grammar would rule the day.

Does it matter? Don’t readers know what our meaning is, even if whose/who’s and its/it’s is used incorrectly?

Maybe. But the real problem is that people reading will be tripped up by errors, thereby making the reading and comprehension less smooth and clear.  Further, it marks the writer and publication as being less professional and of lesser quality.

Proper grammar is like wearing a clean shirt to a job interview. If you have a stain on your shirt, you’re marked as not-so-worthy and less-than-desirable. Neat and clean is what my mom always told me should guide my appearance. It’s also what should guide my writing.

Slow down. Pay attention. Read your copy out loud before you hit send. And wear a clean shirt.

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