11 thoughts on “writing lesson

  1. If you think that’s bad, try having a look at some of the stuff on engrish.com … The english language is not the easiest one in the world and even for those of us native speakers, there are still plenty of arguments to be had. One of my favourites on facebook was some idiot criticising my grammar on a light hearted comment (I started the sentence with AND!!! ) while clearly not realising he was using a split infinitive to do that. In fact, I doubt the cretin would even know what a split infinitive is. Let’s hear it for steroids… :-/

    Oh and the yo-ghurt/yog-hurt one I have with my missus on a fairly regular basis….

  2. Oh dear…. take a look at my blog then the both of yous…….. you’ll have a field day 🙁

    I do feel, that in this day and age, you have to be a little more tolerant of other human beings – faults and all, bad grammar included. I think when you are busy picking someone’s sentence construction to bits, you fail to read what is actually being said, and that is rather sad.

    The world is full of pedants innit

    Have a nice day

    Sarah

  3. As an aspiring writer, I have to deeply disagree with Sarah. For two reasons.

    We do care for what is being said. But bad writing can make understanding more difficult because it fails to express the message clearly.

    And then, in art or science, most people want to see work performed by talented and skillful people who invest time and effort into getting better. That piece was written by a journalist in an official publication, not on a personal blog. Why should writing be suddenly exempt from quality requirements essential to any other professional field?

  4. Thais… some people love to communicate, but if they are not well educated, does this mean they should not be allowed to write down their thoughts and feelings? Should the fact that you cannot spell, nor abbreviate, t be regarded as a crutch?

    Should people be gagged because they are not as articulate as you?

    Sarah x x

  5. Sarah,

    If I may, I think you are taking all of this way too far.

    First, why do you equate critique of a style with silencing or gagging another? How did we get from a remark implying that the sentence in question could have been better to “should not be allowed to write down their thoughts and feelings”?

    And second, Amanda’s critique was directed at a professional journalistic publication. Not a personal blog. Shouldn’t professional publications adhere to certain standards?

  6. Sarah,

    This was a piece of journalistic reporting. One expects certain standards in any language. That I’m making fun of this piece means it stands out — meaning the majority of other pieces have normal usage. I believe Jay Leno does a regular piece on funny headlines in US newspapers. Bad writing is bad writing in any language.

    I have many, many mistakes documented on this blog and I cringe when reading old posts. My goal is to do better, which is why I regularly read books and magazines on writing. I become aware of faults — mine and those of others; but especially my own.

    Thais,

    Thank you for being the voice of reason once again. I hope you at least got a chuckle out of the sentence!

    XX

  7. In my previous life as an editor for a Black-oriented newspaper, I would regularly have to palm slap my head after reading some of the typos the little gremlins would slip in when my back was turned.

    It makes you look like a moron, but the good thing about it is except for English teachers and sharp-eyed escorts, most folks don’t even notice. Wait? Is that really a “good thing?”

  8. When someone is writing professionally or academically, then grammar and context matter. It means that the writer truly wants you to understand what they are saying and so they took the time to make sure communication is clear. Regardless of what some people may think, this still leaves a wide field of stylistic choices and good writers know this. “Feelings” are inappropriate at the point of editing are irrelevant. The writer needs to do her or his job.

    Personal writing, like most blogs, emails/handwritten letters between friends, language can be much more casual. After all, your friends and loved ones “know” what you’re saying at times when you may be incomprehensible to others. But that’s okay, we all have our secret “languages”.

    Of course, this complete misunderstanding of proper communication and the allowance of sloppy language is part of the reason for so much discord. That’s why having a common language, even among disparate peoples, is so important. There are times when it is vital that we all understand each other.

  9. Jeff,

    I think anyone just casually reading the lead sentence of that article is going to do a double-take. It’s not about a typo. It’s really bad syntax.

    Listen to what Aspasia says. Can’t say it any better than her.

    XX

  10. Oy, speaking of syntax errors, I meant to say, “”Feelings” are inappropriate and irrelevant at the point where writing is edited.””

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