This guest post is by Greg McFarlane of Control Your Cash
As a blogger, you expect your readers to give you their valuable time that they could be spending elsewhere. If you’re going to ask that much of them, don’t they deserve your best effort in return?
When your posts are loaded with spelling and grammar mistakes, you’re telling your readers one or both of two things:
- I can’t be bothered to learn the language I’ve chosen to communicate in.
- My content is so vital and compelling that its form is unimportant.
Democratization has its advantages, and alas, its drawbacks. 572 years ago, Johann Gutenberg was the only person on Earth who could have his words disseminated en masse. (And even he was but the messenger, merely spreading others’ divinely inspired works.) Today, anyone with a Return key and an opinion can search for an audience. Does that mean that you deserve one?
Look at the most popular blogs, the ones with critical acclaim, and/or a large readership. Technorati lists The Huffington Post, Hot Air, several members of the Gawker family, Mashable and TechCrunch among its top 20. Even the inane TMZ is on the list. Regardless of how you feel about left-wing politics, right-wing politics, general snarkiness, social media news, technology or the lives of celebrities, all the blogs on the list have something in common that also-ran blogs don’t.
Proper, comprehensible English, delivered in sentences that you don’t have to reread to make sense of. In 2011, with so much of the world’s knowledge available to any of us, it’s astounding that there exist bloggers who’ve advanced past adolescence yet still don’t know that plurals don’t take apostrophes.
When I decry this (I’m the kind of person who thinks that Jeff Deck and Benjamin D. Herson deserve their own Nobel Prize category), I’m often met with the standard responses. These fall into three categories:
- I didn’t have time.
- Who cares?
- (No response at all.)
In other words, correct English isn’t that important. My one-word response to that is: garbage.
Unlike most topics of debate, there’s no room for difference of opinion on this one. People on the other side of this issue are like those who defend flat earth theory or who argue that thiomersal causes autism. There’s no reasoning with them. To disagree here is to say that sloppiness and ignorance are of no consequence. That insulting your readers is fine. That the rules of discourse don’t apply to