Why I’m Not Going to Tell You How to Rite

Oh, lulz, that was a joke, there. I’m not going to tell you how to perform rites, either, but I just wanted to remind you all that your Facebook posts, texts, emails, and blog comments are a safe space for you to express yourself however you want to. I’m not going to correct your grammar or spelling, even if you accidentally hit a pet peeve (grammer, for example).

I actually heard last week that someone was hesitant to comment on the blog, because they were afraid I’d say something about their spelling or punctuation. Nope, unless a typo is hilarious (the classic public/pubic one comes to mind), I am going to assume that in informal writing has not been proofread extensively.

If you print it and want to sell it, proofread it. Photo: @cbm0809 via Twenty20

You see, it’s true that I spent a zillion years in the distant past studying linguistics and editing. It’s true I make my living writing and editing things. And yes, I’m pretty well versed at American English grammar and punctuation. But, I don’t expect you to be an expert. I don’t even expect ME to be when I’m texting.

One thing a that study made clear to me is that writing for different purposes has different standards. Yes, if I am writing for publication or sending a formal letter, I will do my best to eliminate grammar errors, spelling mistakes, or typos. However, in Facebook posts, I do not expect residents of Cameron, Texas to realize that “wondering” is not something dogs who roam around neighborhood are doing. That’s just how they say it and spell it. Sort of like the garage sell. It’s an interesting way their spoken dialect affects spelling. I find it interesting.

It CAN make a big difference, though! Image: @cindyhodesigns via Twenty20

And that’s the thing. I’m more likely to have an enjoyable time figuring what led to a typo or nonstandard grammatical phrase than to judge the writer or feel the desire to “correct” them. I feel rather guilty, in fact, that I corrected a meme someone posted that repeatedly used “your” for “you’re.” For some reason, this older person expects memes you publish to be grammatical, at least when they are not using slang I don’t understand or the interesting text terms lots of younger people use. Whoops.

So yeah (which is not the word for “yay”), I am not interested in being labeled a “Grammar N-word.” I save that for work and judging my own writing goofs, not yours. Just don’t ask me to review your novel or proofread a document without me pointing things out. In that case, you asked!

So communicate! That’s what counts!

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

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