There’s a joke in the creative industry that “everyone is a designer”, making light of how infuriating it is to have someone (without a visual background) tell a designer how things should look.
It’s a huge and common problem, caused by a “client is always right” attitude — something we’ve all experienced, and all must endure. There is a point where you can actually see the lights go off in a designer’s eyes as their soul tries to escape their body — and that point is usually the 10th round of amends.
Less talked about is the “everyone is a copywriter” problem. Today, we’re going to address that and dissect some of the things your copywriter is thinking when you decide that you’re also a midweight copywriter… but probably won’t say.
To your face.
Let’s not hesitate.
Grammar “rules” are guidelines, not rules.
This will split the sea like Moses, but let us go ahead and say it anyway.
Much like design, copy is subject to the tastes, preferences and aims of the reader. Every now and then, you (as the copywriter) will come up against a self-professed “grammar expert”.
It could be your client. It could be your co-worker. Heck, it could even be legal. Sometimes they’re right, sometimes they’re wrong, but most of the time…
They’re an idiot.
You know how the saying goes that the ‘wisest people know that they in fact know nothing’? The same applies to grammar.
Language changes every year and in turn, so does grammar. The only time we ever really hear about it is when something controversial is added to the dictionary, like ‘lol’ or an alternative definition for ‘mug’… but it happens far more often than we realise.
There are often two (correct) spellings of every word and three (correct) executions of a punctuation rule. The rules change due to the rest of the words in a sentence, the academic style it’s written in, the context and even the medium. Therefore, unless someone has been studying the dictionary nightly since they were eight years old… the confidence of a grammar nazi is usually just drastically misplaced naivety, or the outward evidence of some deep-rooted childhood trauma. Whatever way you want to look at it. I’m not putting words in your mouth.