Who’s Ms. Kinder? Ms. Kinder was my eighth grade English teacher. I assume she took the job when there was no more demand for Nazi drill sergeants. But despite Ms. Kinder’s Himmler-like techniques, what she taught us has proven to be valuable to my blogging success. So now, in front of my faithful blogging friends I confess, “Ms. Kinder, you were right. And I’m sorry about that little incident with the lunch box and the earth worms.”
When I first started blogging I really didn’t pay a lot of attention to my spelling, grammar or punctuation. I figured that a blog is more informal and these things really didn’t matter all that much. Well, four blogs later, I’ve seen the light. I learned how important these things were by my own reaction when reading blogs littered with offenses to the English language. Blogs with errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar led to a couple of responses:
- I’d get confused or frustrated when trying to understand what was written. This is particularly true when reading technology related blogs that already challenge my intellect.
- I’d lose trust in the knowledge of the writer. It just seemed difficult that someone who would misspell compensation on their blog could teach me anything about making money online.
But both of these reactions usually result in my leaving the blog. Grammar, spelling and punctuation errors are a distraction and a nuisance. I found that I just didn’t care to read a blog written with little care for use of proper English. It’s not that you won’t find errors on my own blogs, but I make an effort to make them as few as possible.
So, what do you do if you weren’t really listening when Ms. Kinder’s was explaining expletive constructions? Here’s my suggestions for minimizing English language atrocities on your blog:
- ALWAYS reread your article before posting to find errors. Proofreading is basic to all forms of professional writing; make it a regular part of your blogging.
- Use your spell checker. It may not always be right, but it’s a second opinion on your spelling. WordPress and most other major blog platforms have a spell check built right in. So use the tool to avoid some simple mistakes.
- Use other resources and guides to help improve your grammar and use of punctuation.
Here’s a list of online resources to help:
Punctuation Made Simple – Learn to properly use the colon, semicolon, apostrophe, dash and comma. Links are at the bottom of the page.
Guide to Grammar and Style – Jack Lynch’s site has a wealth of information, but can be a bit difficult to navigate. There is an alphabetical index and a rudimentary search engine.
Online Writing Lab Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling – Excellent resources. Brief and to the point.
Strunk’s The Elements of Style – The same guide I used in college, available online. This is a great read if you are looking to improve your writing.
So, no more excuses. Ms. Kinder was right, but more importantly, your readers deserve a quality blog. And good use of English is critical to a quality blog. So take the time to check your spelling, grammar and punctuation. Donut be won of those righters whose two lazy to get it write.