Why Grammar Isn’t Overrated
I read a post by an influential blogger yesterday that said, in a nutshell, that grammar doesn’t matter.
It’s overrated! Nobody cares about it! It’s not important if your writing is grammatically correct so long as the reader gets what you’re trying to say!
Oof. Where to begin?
All due respect to this individual, but I vehemently disagree.
For one thing…
Grammar is a Function of Your Job
A blogger who tells his followers that grammar isn’t important is like an accountant who tells his clients that finances are overrated.
Sure, blogging is not the same as writing, per se. The paragraphs are shorter; the ideas condensed. Wisdom is shared in nuggets, not pages, and readers typically skim over the text rather than ingesting every sentence.
Still, bloggers rely on the written word to convey thoughts, share insight, and communicate feelings. Understanding and utilizing correct syntax is inherent to the job.
You can shrug it off and say it’s not important — lack of grammar hasn’t hurt your readership, so clearly no one cares — but don’t you want to put forth quality work? Don’t you want to better your skills and improve your abilities?
Just because others don’t seem to think a critical component of your job is important, don’t YOU want to hold yourself to a higher standard?
Even if you don’t…
You Owe it to Your Readers
People follow you. They read your work. They highlight your words and take them to heart. They want to learn from you.
You owe it to them to put forth your best. Does it have to be flawless? No. As I’ve said before, we’re not aiming for Pulitzers here.
But if you expect people to take time out of their already hectic, packed schedules to give you their attention, you should at least take an extra five minutes out of YOUR day to ensure your work isn’t a sloppy mess.
To that end…
You Owe it to Your Career
How can you possibly expect anyone to follow your advice on blogging if your posts look as though a third-grader wrote them?
Look, if you want to write cute little articles about your cat or pun-filled paragraphs about your hobbies, then, by all means, toss some words onto a screen and hit publish. No one will hold it against you if your writing is grammatically challenged.
But if this is your career — if you expect to get paid for sharing your expertise — then put the actual work in. Using Blogger as a job title doesn’t give you the leeway to put forth sloppy writing.
To make a living as a freelancer is a very, very lucky endeavor. Show you appreciate that fact by publishing thoughtful work and not rushing through every post like you have better things to do.
It Matters. Full Stop.
If your primary argument for shrugging off grammar is that no one notices anyway, well…that’s a pretty sad case for not doing your best.
Again, when it comes to building a blogging career about blogging, YOU’RE the expert. People are following you because they value your insight. They want to learn from you. They hope to follow your lead and build their own careers using the advice you’ve offered.
Just because they don’t call you out on your shoddy writing doesn’t make it okay for you to be careless. It’s your responsibility to be a professional, lead by example, and publish your best work.
At the end of the day, grammar does matter. It matters because it’s a component of your job. It matters because, as a blogger, your posts are a reflection of you and your abilities. It matters because no one will take you seriously if you don’t take the work seriously.
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