06 October 2006


I know I'm a self-proclaimed member of the grammar patrol, and prone to what some would consider an unnecessarily exacting nature when it comes to grammar, diction and marketing.

If you don't care about grammar, diction or marketing...that's REALLY fine with me. If we all had passion for the same things here on earth, it would be a boring place. Variety is the spice of life, and so on.

However, I think it's sad when people who don't want to bother with getting things "just so" in personal correspondence think it's OK to not be OVER THE TOP with editing, spell-checking and proof reading in a professional setting.

Example: there is a major internal project going on at my company, the product of which is being billed as "world class" and "state of the art". I've just read the most recent newsletter that has been issued by the project team (which was distributed to the entire company), and I'm so frustrated:

  • TWO different registered phrases that we use ALL THE TIME are not written appropriately (and by this I don't mean that they just happened to leave off the circle-R symbol).
  • The marketing tagline that the company has been touting for about a year is used repeatedly throughout the newsletter - but is NEVER written the same way twice.
  • There is an error in the page numbering of the newsletter.
  • The name of the actual project/product is Trademarked, and there is inconsistent application of the TM symbol!

I realize it's just a newsletter. But honestly...if you want me to really believe that what you're doing in WORLD CLASS, then make EVERYTHING related to it WORLD CLASS, including the newsletter.

I know...I know. I should just quit my job and go to work for a publishing house or find some other place where I can put my red pen to better and more regular use.

Why am I such a snob?! I even annoy myself with it sometimes (especially when I make these same kinds of mistakes myself - but that only demonstrates the fact that we ALL need editors and proof-readers), but I can't NOT care about excellence. I am desperate to find a balance to this frustration...but haven't found it yet, clearly.

PLEASE NOTE: I'm not saying that nobody should ever be allowed to make a mistake, and that one should be hung by his toenails in the first instance of such an offense. But habitual disregard for silly mistakes really winds me up.


Laurie said...

I'm glad you clarified that people who make mistakes should not be hung up by their toenails...because you made a mistake. :)

(The second sentence in the first paragraph after the bullet points contains a typographical error.)

dovie said...


Laurie, will you be my blog editor?

I can start sending you all my draft posts...then you can review/approve for publication.

BotSO said...


Laurie said...

I'd love to be your editor...except for the fact that I make similar mistakes all the time. I try to let it roll like water off a duck's back...or something.

crystal said...

a few things...

i relate. i annoy the heck out of myself sometimes. many times, things would be so much easier and faster if i didn't care about things like grammar.

i have a saved draft of a blog post titled "rant" that is about the exact same thing. weird!

i recently discovered some like-minded individuals on flickr:
spelling mistakes
atrocious apostrophe's
"quotation mark" abuse
i feel like such a dork that i read a thread with over 20 responses about "the most annoying grammatical error" and was very close to shouting "amen!" and "you go, girl!" on numerous occassions. ok, not really "you go, girl!" - i'm not THAT dorky.

BotSO said...

Strunk and White. Elements of Style

dennis said...

Don't forget that even people who write for a living have editors. It is a process that takes a critical eye that is not familiar with the thoughts as they are written, as an author has the tendency to skim over words written and miss mistakes even the second time through.

However, I must agree (read: "can't not agree") with you about the newsletter. I would be embarrassed to have my name associated with such a poor example of writing style. One might as well advertise his poor education and cockney upbringing as print an article written with such little concern for correctness.

Oh, and Laurie, speaking of typographical errors, periods go outside parentheses (but I suppose in a blog comment, we could let it slide)...doh!

The Barbarian Grammarian said...

Ok, now I can't resist:

Doc, you've unfairly criticized Laurie. I guess these internet love affairs end quickly.

Terminal punctuation only belongs outside the parentheses if the contents of said are not a complete sentence. Laurie was correct in her usage thereof. See http://www.bartleby.com/68/19/4419.html.

dennis said...

Hmm. It seems you are correct about that rule, but be warned that if you are going to be a Barbarian about it, you will want to watch your proverbial back as well. (I might have to use an extra-sentence parenthetical phrase a time or two to get used to it.)

And, with apologies to Laurie for correcting what is (apparently) already correct, I would also like to ask exactly how "smilies" are to be considered when punctuating what one has written?

dennis said...

by the way, BG, why would you assume that Laurie and I are at odds? Even an internet affair should be able to withstand a grammar misunderstanding (that we are now in agreement was completely and totally my misunderstanding the rules of parenthetical punctuation - that is perfectly and patently clear at this point). Perhaps in a period of parenthetical punctuation practice, I could repeat my personal apology, putting into place a primary proposition: periodically punctuate with penache.

Laurie said...

Dear The Hon,

Thank you for defending not only my grammar, but also my honor. My tumultuous internet connection with Dennis has a long and storied history. I will spare you the sordid details. 'Tis true that Dennis and I are not at odds. How can one be at odds with a person one never hears from? Perhaps the connection could have been saved, had he merely commented on my blog. But no comment-love has ever been shown. Our love has been hung out to dry like so many shirts on a clothesline.

dennis said...

That doesn't seem fair, although true enough in essence. But at least I have a link to your blog. That's my connection.