I Am Not A Blade of Grass

May 12, 2010 at 6:31 am (Editing, Thoughts on Writing) (, , , , , , , )


Okay, I am aware that the list of things I am not would far surpass the list of things that I am.

I’ve recently realised that despite my being part of gen Y and being fully aware that language is a dynamic, living, changing  thing and that I am a very big fan of splitting infinitives and breaking other traditional grammatical rules, I am not simply going to go wherever the wind is blowing.

Specifically, I’ve recently realised that when I’m reading other people’s blogs, I don’t mind the occasional spelling error or sentence fragment. Most of us write blogs quickly, do a once over and a spell check and that’s about it. If someone points out a massive error in the comments, maybe go back and edit. Blogs are not generally going to be a perfectly polished type of text. Some people will disagree with me and I know there are people who spend ages over each blog and that works for them.

Despite that, it really bothers me when I’m reading a blog and it isn’t punctuated. I’m not talking about every comma being in the right place and correct use of semi-colons, I’m just talking about basic full stops and capital letters with an occasional apostrophe. It really puts me off to the point where I don’t remember the content at all. Same with lower case I’s. It doesn’t take that much more effort to tag the shift key while typing to make it a capital.

Maybe this is me being overly pedantic about things other people don’t find important but there we have it. It interferes with my ability to enjoy content.

I’d love to hear your opinion.

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19 Comments

  1. courtneykane said,

    First of all, let me introduce myself: I am not a rodent living under the platform at the Earl’s Court stop on the London Underground.

    I understand your desire for basic grammar, spelling, and punctuation in blog posts. It sure makes reading easier when we all use these markers. I, however, am a great fan of writing all in lower case. I find capitalising beginnings of sentences, proper nouns, etc interferes with the smooth visual aesthetic of an all lower case ramble. I, therefore, embrace the lower case ‘i’.

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      Nice introduction – maybe we should have a discussion listing all the things we are not. It could be an interesting creative exercise if nothing else.
      Possibly I’m just too traditional but the lower case i just looks wrong. It throws off the entire look of the writing and insists on my attention.

  2. Joanne said,

    Well, I cast my vote with you, Cassandra. The all lower case almost seems a bit trendy and doesn’t really work for me. For me as a writer, appreciating the language, I like all the rules and guidelines that give it the power to effectively communicate to others.

  3. laurelrainsnow said,

    I like things to be grammatical in a basic sense…I don’t mind fragments if they’re done in a way that makes the writing flow.

    My greatest bugaboo is the one where grammatical errors are so glaring that I cringe. I’ve come across these kinds of errors over and over.

    Capitalization of proper nouns and pronouns is important to me, too.

    I’m finally starting to decipher some of the shortcuts like IMO and BTW…but these should be used sparingly.

    Okay…now you’ll really know that I’m old-school, as my grandson would say.

  4. Carol J. Garvin said,

    I think the trend to all lower case letters and abbreviated expressions belongs in hasty messages such as e-mail and texting, not in blog articles. I suppose the purpose of the blog has to be considered. I want each of my posts to be both a reflection of my thoughts and a sample of my writing skills. Because I’m an aspiring author I think my blog needs to be as professional-looking as possible. Poor spelling and grammar doesn’t do it for me.

  5. Elizabeth Spann Craig said,

    I find it distracting, myself. But I was an English major, so I’m thinking I’m biased. 🙂

  6. Stephen Tremp said,

    I agree. Bloggers need to write properly. These are at least semi-professional articles, nit text messages. Thanks for letting me vent. Eventually, I’ll stop coming back as I figure of the writing is poor, so will be the content.

    Stephen Tremp

  7. Juliet Boyd said,

    I agree. Lack of capitalisation really grates with me. It’s probably my secretarial background and if you learn to type properly it doesn’t break the flow to type correctly. When I’m writing, the thing I have a problem with is only having the one space between sentences. When I was taught to type (many, many years ago) it was good practice to put two spaces and that is what is natural to me. I have to do a find and replace before I send anything off just to make sure I’ve taken out all those unwanted spaces!

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      I have to do the same. I was taught two spaces, and while it wasn’t all that many years ago, I was taught by someone who was very much into traditional typing skills.

  8. T. said,

    I am probably the poorest one could be in the grammar department without actually being illiterate however, I try my best to get it (mostly) right.

    The absence of capital letters and common punctuation, except when being intentionally omitted for artistic effect, is simply lazy writing. Like traffic laws, punctuation and grammar exist for a reason – it makes the piece of writing easier to read. If I can’t make heads or tails out of what I’m reading, or if I am distracted by unconventional spelling, glaring grammar mistakes, and punctuation omissions I am not going to continue to read your work.

    I’m not a writing Nazi by any stretch of the imagination, I can overlook a typo or a misspelling in a blog post. I love work that hangs out on the edges of conventionality, but writing is an art and each piece needs to be crafted with attention and with purpose.

  9. Alex Willging said,

    I agree with Elizabeth Spann Craig: being an English major myself, I’m quite prone to pick apart grammar mistakes and punctuation errors. Yes, I type fast and do misspell words, but I usually try to run back and correct them just as quickly (all part of one big, blogging flow).

    I’m also the type of person who actually takes time to write out sentences in text messages, capitalizes the start of a sentence, and includes punctuation. Why? Because I want the recipient of the message to get exactly what I mean.

  10. AlexJ said,

    It’s a result of the next generation being raised on IM, Twitter, and texting. They don’t capitalize or punctuate. Rather sad.

  11. catwoods said,

    I am not a grammar Nazi, nor a blade of grass, nor a rodent living under the front step. I am also not a rabbit that nibbles the goodies from budding flowers in a garden.

    But, I do love good writing. Captial letters at the start of a sentence make me smile. Lower case ones give me heart burn.

    If blogging as a writer, we need to appear professional. It’s the only way we will be taken seriously. That’s just my biased opinion.

  12. Cassandra Jade said,

    It seems most the comments are coming down on the side of a more traditional view of grammar. Happy dance.

  13. Vipula said,

    Congratulations on your book !! I have been lurking around your blog for quite sometime but have been too lazy to comment.
    I have really enjoyed reading your last few posts and its interesting coz this is probably the closest I have been to the mind of a writer.
    I liked how you tried to be a character in your own story ! – I am sure its not going to be comforting for most writers

  14. Jemi Fraser said,

    I’m pretty casual about a lot of things in life, but I do like my capitals, periods and apostrophes too. Too casual can be annoying. Sometimes it’s done for effect and it’s okay, but there are only a few people who can pull that off.

  15. milkfever said,

    Hey, I’m happy I found your blog. Some great stuff here. I’m a big fan of “do what works”. For every style of writing there will be followers and critics. So go ahead – split infinitives, use lower case, let the words express your own inner being. Have fun. If you enjoy it, who cares what anyone else thinks.

    Lisa

  16. Lua said,

    When it comes to blog posts, I don’t mind a couple of errors here and there (I know I make them), blogs are not magazine articles or an extension of our manuscripts, they are usually written quickly and bound to have some mistakes.
    That being said, I agree with you about the punctuation and the capitals because they do effect the ability to enjoy the content- which is the whole point really…

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