Thursday, June 9, 2011

Blog Grammar 101

Often caught with errors in their own posts, bloggers here and elsewhere have commented on the need for political candidates to use proper English in campaign materials. (Back in elementary school, Sister Margaret Ann continually referred us to Strunk & White for the definitive set of grammar rules - perhaps candidates should review them, too.)

Of course, given the quick, impulsive nature of blogging, the generally acceptable grammatical standard for bloggers and blog commenters is considerably lower.  Even so, there are still a few basic rules that bloggers and commenters should know, if, for no other reason, so as to not completely distract (or annoy) the reader.  Allow me to offer just a few:

Know How to Spell ”Grammar."  It's not a spelling bee, but you really need to know how to spell grammar if you're going to comment on it.

Know Your Capitalization. No grammatical error peeves me more than random capitalization. Political bloggers, especially, should know when to capitalize Republican and Democrat (hint: capitalize the terms only when referring to the parties).  Also, don't capitalize titles unless the person's name follows.

Know the Difference Between a Possessive Pronoun and a Contraction. For goodness sake, people, “your” and “you’re” are not the same thing. Similarly, “their,” “they’re” and “there” cannot be used interchangeably.

There are a few exceptions to the standard grammar rules that Sister Margaret Ann would not appreciate, but which I think fit the blogosphere writing style. Split infinitives, incomplete sentences and sentences that begin with a conjunction are okay if they make the piece easier to read. Ending sentences with a preposition, on the other hand, is something up with which I shall not put.

UPDATED:  Even as a joke, I couldn't take "grammar" being misspelled.

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