By J. Parker, Hot, Holy & Humorous
I’ve heard it plenty: Readers care about my content, not my grammar.
Many marriage bloggers expect their audiences to look past any misspellings, poor punctuation, or mistaken word usage. After all, isn’t it what we say that really matters?
Yes, but it’s also how we say it. And good grammar is part of that. It’s well worth your time to revisit your posts before you click publish and make sure they read correctly and smoothly. Why?
Language has order.
We have rules about how to string together words, phrases, and punctuation so that we can communicate an intended meaning to others. If we pay no attention to those rules, we might miss our mark and our meaning will be lost to others. Maybe you’ll appreciate this common example of why punctuation matters:
“A woman, without her man, is nothing.”
“A woman: without her, man is nothing.”
How about an example from the Bible? Did Jesus mean to say, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise,” or “Truly I tell you today, you will be with me in paradise”? Maybe it doesn’t matter much to us, but I suspect the meaning was important to the thief hanging on the cross beside Christ. Too bad commas were introduced to biblical manuscripts much later.
The point is that language has order, called grammar, which helps both author and reader to stay on the same page and walk away with the same meaning.
You’re a professional.
When people see an egregious error on a company’s sign or a brochure, it speaks to a lack of professionalism. If the company didn’t bother to ensure proper spelling on an advertisement, what does that say about its effort with the product itself?
Many of us expend real time and effort praying about our words, researching our topics, and considering the content of our posts. We act like professionals in that area; why not be professional with our language usage?
Of course, we’ll still make mistakes – we’re human – but many errors can be avoided simply by proofreading what we’ve written before publishing. And if you know you have a particular issue with certain grammar rules, take time to learn or look it up before the post goes live. As big a grammar geek as I can be, I still misspell perseverance three-fourths of the time I type it. So I double-check myself on that one constantly. You probably know your weak spots too.
Keep people reading. Have you ever been in the middle of an article or book, stopped on a sentence, and reread it to understand what was being said? A grammar oops can disrupt flow. Writers call those “speed bumps” for readers, and we want to make our posts as smooth a ride for our audience as possible. Too many speed bumps, and the reader might detour away from our website.
Yes, there are readers who will not finish your post if it has too many errors. Is that a large segment? Maybe not. But do we really want to lose an opportunity to speak biblical truth to someone just because we didn’t take a few extra minutes to proofread our posts? That someone might need to hear exactly what we are saying that day.
Make your posts flow well, with good structure and grammar, and people will keep reading. They’ll also be more willing to share your posts with others.
All it takes is a few minutes to run a spell check, read back through for errors your word processor won’t catch (like your/you’re, their/there/they’re, etc.), and check punctuation. You can also use a text-to-speech function (Microsoft Word now has one built in) and let your computer read the post back to you while you follow along.
It’s an extra step, but proofreading your posts can improve the professionalism of your website and the readability of your posts.