We live in an age when everyone is a published author. “Published author” doesn’t carry the importance it once did because today, nobody but the writer gets to decide if the words should go public. To be sure, there is some fine writing on the Web; there is also plenty of trash, and even more somewhere in between.
I know of no rule demanding social media writing to meet standards of spelling, grammar, and usage. Still, knowing and writing to established standards of correctness will set some apart as skilled at and serious about the craft. Let’s take it a step further. Proper usage, grammar, punctuation, et cetera go to clarity. Consider how moving a comma can change meaning. Which of the following two sentences can you more easily accept?
I am telling you today, sometime you will die.
I am telling you, today sometime you will die.
If you are not a serious writer and you just want to express yourself, you need not worry about the fine points; you will get your message across and most readers won’t know the difference. The composition police send you off in peace. My audience for this and future blogs is that handful who want to go from writing well to writing outstandingly well. To those who call me elitist, I say, “There’s nothing wrong with being elitist as long as everyone is invited to join.”
Whether you want to write the next great novel, online instructions for solving a problem, or update your Facebook status, you can write more clearly and correctly than the person who also wants your job, your promotion, your piece of the pie.
Do you have a question about usage or grammar? Did you find a mistake in my writing? Is there a common writing error that especially bothers you? I’m eager to hear from you./