Dear Fellow Bloggers,
So often I see you creating great blogs with posts about interesting topics, but too often the grammar nazi in me just cringes at mistakes that could easily be fixed with a little proofing. My inner grammar nazi longs for cringe-free reading, so I am sharing with you some tips and resources for editing and proofing your blog posts. First, let’s get a little philosophical.
Business Blog Anatomy III: Editing and Proofing
Does It Really Matter If There Are Writing, Spelling and Grammar Errors In My Blog Posts?
I have two responses to this question. For the first response, I will quote a good friend and fellow Toastmaster who gave me some advice in regards to public speaking and writing speeches. I feel this advice applies to writing blog posts too:
“If you settle for good enough, you might miss out on being great.”
Now I must ask you:
Why settle for just a ‘good enough’ blog post, when a little bit of time and effort spent on proofing can make it a great (or even perfect) blog post?
My second response is born from my own subjective feelings. When I come across a blog – even when it is one whose topics I find interesting, and which I otherwise enjoy reading – if there are many errors in spelling, grammar, and/or sentence structure, it becomes much less enjoyable for me to read and it is unlikely that I would follow or return to that blog.
If it is a business web site especially, I will question the professional standards that the business adheres to and whether they would apply those lesser standards to any work I might contract them to do for me. I would be far less likely to use that business’s services.
Does it really matter if there are writing, spelling, and grammar errors in my blog post? Only if you want a great blog, only if you care whether more people will follow it, and only if you want increased chances that your business web site will sell your professional services.
Editing Tips and Resources
My dear fellow bloggers, I don’t want to just be a whiner, and I do love your otherwise very enjoyable blogs, so in effort to be useful I offer up the following tips and resources for proofing your blog posts.
Please do not use an apostrophe “S” to indicate plural.
Nothing brings out my inner grammar nazi like seeing an apostrophe “s” ( ‘s ) used incorrectly to indicate a plural. Here are some examples that I hope will help you to recognize and remember when to use (or not to use) an apostrophe “s” in your writing:
To Indicate Plural – No Apostrophe:
The kids loved the new playground. – More than one child loved the playground.
The girls sang in the choir. – More than one girl sang in the choir.
The dogs wagged their tails. – More than one dog wagged his tail.
In the examples above, the “s” is used to indicate the plural form (more than one).
If you are unsure whether to use an apostrophe with the “s” or not, ask whether you are speaking about more than one item. If you are speaking about more than one, do not use an apostrophe.
If you are using a contraction or showing possession, then you would use an apostrophe. A contraction is when two words are shortened into one contraction, for example “don’t” for “do not” and “won’t” for “will not.”
Apostrophe “S” as a Contraction:
It’s windy outside. – It is windy outside.
The kid’s going to the playground. – The kid is going to the playground.
The dog’s enjoying his bone. – The dog is enjoying his bone.
Read the sentence and replace the contraction with the two words instead. Does it make sense reading it this way? Then use the apostrophe.
Apostrophe “S” to Show Possession:
The kid’s hat was blown by the wind. – The hat belongs to the kid.
The girl’s shoe got stuck in the grate. – The shoe belongs to the girl.
The dog’s bone was gone by the end of the day. – The bone belongs to the dog.
Ask yourself does the item belong to the person or object? If it does, use an apostrophe.
Please note that “it’s” is an exception to this rule. “It’s” is always a replacement for “it is,” while “its” is used to show possession. It’s windy outside = it is windy outside / The monster hid its face = the face belonged to the monster.
Three Great Resources
Grammarist.com – Grammarist is a web site that provides daily posts writers will love. It is a great resource for correct use of grammar, sentence structure, vocabulary, and context. It includes an excellent index that will help you find the information you need.
Quick and Dirty Tips by Grammar Girl – Grammar Girl is a dream resource for writers! She is easy to follow, providing her audience with blog posts, podcasts, and social connections on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Instagram. She is a guru in grammar, word usage, punctuation, sentence structure and more.
The AP Stylebook has long been considered the professional writer’s bible. “AP” stands for Associated Press, a respected, non-profit provider of news articles from around the world. Many news outlets acquire stories from the AP’s media center, and any journalist worth their words will have a copy of the AP Stylebook in their office.
In conclusion, dear bloggers, I both implore you to add proofing to your writing process, and hope that I have provided some good resources to help make that task easy to do. I do so love your blogs – may we all become great together!
Your fellow Blogging University participant and blogger,
PS – This post was written for the free, online course “Writing 101,” offered by the awesome Blogging University, presented by the Daily Post. This post satisfies two assignments: Day 5, Hook Them With a Quote, and Day 8, Reinvent the Letter Format.
Meilani MacDonald is a brand identity and outreach strategy consultant who runs Meilani’s Blooming Business Club. Club members enjoy affordable monthly workshops and “Consultant is IN” Hangout sessions focusing on marketing, social media, task and time management, and business coaching and brainstorming.
Meilani also offers editing, proofing, copywriting, book doctoring and graphic design services.