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Creator Chronicles

"Grammar, spelling, and punctuation don't matter"

Published 3 months ago • 2 min read

As an English major, it bothers me that there's a group of people online who claim basic writing principles don't apply to them.

Unfortunately it's a ubiquitous mindset I've observed, and I believe it stems from the copywriting principle of "write how you speak."

Like many other principles, certain factions of people take what's said out of context and turn it into something that's just outright wrong.

I mean, c'mon... if you think the rules of language don't apply to you, then go ahead and create your own language with your own rules.

The rules of the English language have evolved over time, and they'll continue to evolve over time—I'm not disputing that.

I am also not disputing dialect or small differences in spelling (i.e. color or colour).

For anyone who's an online writer, the easiest way to make a good first impression is to write well.

You can do that by using basic (and correct) grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

There are so many resources available for anyone who doesn't know the rules.

The first resource that comes to mind is The Elements of Style by Strunk & White.

The second resource is On Writing Well by William Zinsser.

These writers would be rolling over in their graves if they heard some of the avocational scribe talk that goes on on social media these days.

But back to this idea about "write how you speak."

Anyone who knows my voice could read this e-mail and be like, "Yeah, that sounds like him."

In fact, maybe tomorrow I'll record audio of me reading this e-mail and send it to you so you can hear how natural it sounds.

If I were speaking this e-mail aloud and the grammar, spelling, and punctuation were off... do you think it'd sound conversational?

No, not at all... because conversation is based on word order, pronunciation, and tempo...

And in writing, the elements of spoken words and sentences are indicated by grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

"Neil, you've taken things out of context. The reason why grammar, spelling, and punctuation don't matter is because most people don't read their e-mails and most people don't read the entire landing page and most people most people most people..."'

Okay. You're right. Most people aren't paying close enough attention and even if they are, a misspelled word or a missing period here and there isn't a big deal.

But I'm going back to principle.

As writers, all of us should strive to write, edit, and think to the best of our abilities.

We all know when something like "grammar, spelling, and punctuation don't matter" starts getting thrown around, the inexperienced folks take it literally and start writing garbage.

Let's be clear: Grammar matters. Spelling matters. Punctuation matters.

In the publication industry. In the online writing industry. In Hollywood. Everywhere.

And if someone doesn't know a certain rule about when to use a comma or a semi-colon, it's all good.

There are places you can find answers to these kinds of questions. In this case, it'd be pages 5 and 6 of The Elements of Style.

All I'm saying is this: Don't listen to the morons online who think they know what they're talking about.

And if some n00b's advice seems suspect, it definitely is.

Rant over.

Be blessed,
Neil

Creator Chronicles

by Neil Kollipara

Weekly emails about writing, habits, productivity, Creator Economy, and storytelling.

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