The One Where I Get a Little Crazy About Spelling and Grammar

A friend and fellow blogger posted a status on Facebook yesterday noting that she had just read a blog post where the writer had completely (and painfully) misspelled a common phrase.

Personally, I found her status update amusing because my friend gets just as annoyed as I do when it comes to grammar and spelling. (She's one of my former journalism students and the fact that she still speaks to me after I tortured the class with grammar and AP Style tests says a lot).

Some people took offense to her post, arguing that good grammar and perfect spelling weren't that important if one looked at the big picture.

Because, you know, there's more important stuff going on in the world. Like family and friends and pumpkin spice lattes. Who needs proper grammar and good spelling skills? I mean we have spellcheck and autcorrect and who cares if sometimes we type "their" when we really mean "they're"?

I had to use a lot of self control and force myself to NOT leave another comment. What I wanted to post was just one simple "SERIOUSLY?"...but I didn't. Instead, I decided to blog about it. Because that's how I roll.

Here's the thing. I am mildly obsessed with using proper grammar and making sure things are spelled correctly. Am I always right? No. I'm not. Do I make mistakes? Yes. All the time. (If you're really lucky I might have made a mistake in this post and wouldn't that be special?)

I used to be a reporter (and I'm still a writer) and I know the importance of good grammar and spelling. And yes, it makes me absolutely BONKERS when I see your/you're or their/there/they're misused.

When I was a freshman in college I had to take a grammar course before I could take any other courses in the journalism school. The professor for this class was terrifying. We called her Conan the Grammarian. And I absolutely HATED her class.

But I realized the importance of grammar and sentence structure and being able to write coherently so that your readers knew what the hell you were talking about. Everyone who writes - whether you are a newspaper reporter or a blogger - should understand the basic rules of the English language. It isn't complicated. It IS common sense.

Maybe this all sounds harsh, but there is a good reason for my insanity. If you are writing a blog or a newspaper article or a school paper or even something as simple as a Facebook status then good grammar and proper spelling (and a general understanding of common phrases in the English language) are key ingredients in what you are writing. It is important, no matter where your writing is being published.

Perhaps you will call me a grammar and spelling snob, but I'm really OK with that label. (OK. Not okay. OK?) I  am not ashamed to admit that I am probably correcting your grammar in my head. I will also freely admit that when I see Facebook status updates with poor grammar, bad spelling, or bingo words (2U, 4U, B4) I die a little inside.

I once had a former employer tell me that I took grammar and spelling "too seriously." Of course, she was also one of the Green Polyester Trolls so I didn't put much stock into her words. It isn't possible to take grammar and spelling too seriously, especially if you are a writer.

Buy an Associated Press Stylebook.
Use spellcheck.
And read this.
And when you're done reading that, read this.


  1. your awesome. grammar errors make me crazy to. ROFL
    not really. As a blogger I know I screw up regularly BUT I don't think I can just say eh, I"m busy. If I want to be paid I need to take it seriously and fix errors. I wouldn't tell me boss 'eh' at my full time job!

  2. I just died, Lisa! My whole point this morning was that, if we expect to be taken seriously individually and as a group, for bloggers, we need to at least make an effort towards good grammar and correct spelling. It was not an honest mistake, it was one that was essentially stupid. Defending it doesn't make it right. And then I was unfriended. Haha

  3. I could have written this myself. You sound just like me. It's always reassuring to know there are others out there who are as easily annoyed and just as obsessive about these details as I am. Great post!