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Blogging Tips – Editing And Grammar

Posted by on Jul 12, 2012

There’s always this interesting discussion about just how well a blog post needs to be edited before it goes out. I’ve read different theories on how it does or doesn’t matter, and how what’s most important is the message the writer is trying to get across.


by Synderion via Flickr

Let me nip this one in the bud; editing is very important, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. I come across many blog posts that are written so horribly that I leave before I even get to the meat of what it’s all about. The human brain has been proven capable of muddling through badly written text to figure out what the writer is trying to say but who wants to work that hard all the time? Bad spelling, punctuation, and skipping words doesn’t make for an easy read, and if truth be told, missing words will drastically change the meaning of some posts.

American readers tend to make allowances for people who aren’t from this country when reading what they have to say, mainly because we’re impressed someone else knows our language, since we’re pretty bad at learning the languages of those in other countries. But we’ll only accept it to a point. If all you’re doing it telling your story, it’s acceptable. If you’re writing a tutorial or, even worse, trying to market something, we’re not sticking around.

Most blog software automatically highlights misspelled words, so there’s no excuse for that sort of thing. Also, you might try reading your post after it’s completed out loud, just to see how it sounds to you. It’s easier to pick out mistakes when you hear something rather than just reading it. Trust me, I’m not immune, but most of the time my problem is when I use voice recognition software like Dragon, which will skip words yet spell everything correctly. You have to be cognizant of that as well.

No one expects perfection, so if a word here and there is off, no biggie. But if your entire text is wonky, people are going to hate reading it and you’ll find it hard to keep a following.
 

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20 Comments »

Absolutely Mitch!

No one is really perfect and a few mistakes here and there are acceptable. But if your entire text is not up to the mark, you will hardly have anyone reading what you share.

I guess with so many online tools, and also if you are a person who writes every day – there’s no question that your spelling, grammar, punctuation would not be right.

Thanks for sharing. 🙂
Harleena Singh recently posted…How to Find Purpose in Life and Be HappyMy Profile

July 12th, 2012 | 10:42 AM

Thanks Harleena. True, so many tools help with spelling and capitalization. Grammar might be a bit tougher but most people can hear when something sounds wrong.

July 12th, 2012 | 5:01 PM

I’m with you on this, Mitch. That said, there are a heck of a lot of non-English (British English or American English) speaking people out there whose grasp of the language is better than a native speaker’s. So I find that mostly the bad grammar comes from bloggers whose mother tongue is English but who, for some reason just don’t bother to write it properly.

I rarely use a spell-checker, and I’m a bit dyslexic, but I think being so makes me more careful than less. As you say, people should re-read, if necessary reading what they’ve written out loud to themselves. That definitely does help.
Val recently posted…Variegated Aquilegia, keyboard shortcuts and some nuttinessMy Profile

July 12th, 2012 | 5:56 PM

Hey Val. I think folks in non-English speaking countries are better because they learn English differently. Out our way they teach kids how to read based on phonetics, and spelling isn’t stressed as much. Neither is grammar; I’ve seen some papers written by high school kids that are abysmal, but teachers care more than students understand the lessons they’ve been taught. One would think with all the tools we have that at least spelling wouldn’t be an issue anymore; nope.

July 12th, 2012 | 9:16 PM

I suppose it’s like trying to spell something using a dictionary – you have to know what order the letters are in, first, to find the word you want to spell! 😉
Val recently posted…Variegated Aquilegia, keyboard shortcuts and some nuttinessMy Profile

July 13th, 2012 | 8:32 AM

Val, not if one uses either MS Word or even Firefox. I don’t ever remember turning spell check on with this browser, but it highlights when I mistype stuff all the time, little red squiggly lines.

July 13th, 2012 | 11:21 AM

I am a huge grammar guy. I personally think it’s very important. I know of some top bloggers who have horrible spelling and grammar, but do very well. However, I believe it is definitely an advantage to have good spelling and grammar in your content. Like you mentioned, some people will leave immediately if it’s too hard to read. Plus, if it’s actually well written, people will take notice. I think it makes the establishment of credibility that much easier as well. I’ve heard both sides of the story, but I personally think it is important.
Ben recently posted…Why Ignoring Twitter Is Costing You MoneyMy Profile

July 12th, 2012 | 10:03 PM

Thanks for your comment Ben. I also know of a couple of top marketers who do well but write badly. Both of them learned English as a second language though, so I don’t fault them at all. It’s just so disconcerting when I see so many people skipping words or misspelling (typos happen) even the easiest words. You’d hate to think that’s the best they can do.

July 13th, 2012 | 11:16 AM

No problem Mitch. That’s true. You can’t fault someone for English not being their first language.
Ben recently posted…Want to Test the Waters Before You Start a Self-Hosted Blog?My Profile

July 13th, 2012 | 11:57 AM

As a gifted writer, I am a stickler for grammar and editing. However, if the message makes sense and if it doesn’t hurt my eyes and brain to read it; it’s forgiven.
Marcie recently posted…What Are The Best and Worst Excuses You’ve Ever Told or Heard?My Profile

July 12th, 2012 | 10:54 PM

Marcie, I don’t hold everyone accountable to perfection, but sometimes there comes a point where your mind just says “enough”. lol

July 13th, 2012 | 11:17 AM

Those are good points, Mitch. Grammar and spelling are important, because content is written to be read by people. Search engines are not capable of understanding grammar and to some extends wrong spelling.

July 12th, 2012 | 11:35 PM

Thanks Carl. Actually, search engines have gotten better in looking at grammar, probably using some of the MS Word technology (without telling them) to make certain determinations. I often see people writing about making sure one’s content is readable because it helps search engines figure out what their sites are all about.

Of course, now I have to pick on you, as you meant “extent”. lol

July 13th, 2012 | 11:18 AM

For sure there is a slight change and there is some very basic check, however we are still very far from technology that can “understand” relevancy and grammar completely, as well a scale of few trillion websites could be nearly impossible to be verified for complicated grammar mistakes, as any language is very complicated and the exceptions are always more than rules.
Carl recently posted…How to Create Meta TagsMy Profile

July 14th, 2012 | 11:38 PM
Cheryl Brian:

It is true that sometimes posts can never be perfect, but I have come across some that are worst. To some extent you can ignore the mistakes, but if they are too many then it will be better if you get someone that is an expert to correct them for you, for you won’t like it when your reader shy away due to the mistakes made in the blog post.

July 13th, 2012 | 10:55 AM

True Cheryl. Of course, not everyone is great at the language so there is some forgiveness. But if it’s representing your business it looks sloppy and gives a bad impression to potential clients.

July 13th, 2012 | 11:22 AM

Thanks to texting, twitter, etc., grammar is on the decline. And forget about handwriting…awful!

July 15th, 2012 | 3:43 PM

I’d agree with you to an extent Jeff. Those things haven’t helped, but I think the decline was coming about way before technology started taking over.

July 15th, 2012 | 8:48 PM

For me, the lack of correct language and mispellings alarms that the person who wrote something didn’t have a time to check his/her text and that he/she is not s careful person. But I might be wrong as some of us aren’t originally English-speaking people, so I can forgive them. But for native English-speaking people, it’s a bad thing.
Martin recently posted…Well-Known Graphic Design MagazinesMy Profile

July 18th, 2012 | 8:26 AM

I’d agree with that Martin. For instance, I can tell by reading your comment that you’re not an original English speaker because of the pattern of the words you use. We’d never hold that against you, instead marveling because most of us couldn’t speak your language, whatever it is.

July 18th, 2012 | 9:29 AM