But I don’t care. I’ve always maintained that good spelling and grammar is essential in communication tactics, and blogging is certainly part of that activity!
Now I’m not going to give you a lesson in how to spell properly or which grammar is acceptable. There are plenty of good books available in many formats and styles. You are the best person to find the one that’s most appropriate for you.
If you want me to recommend a fun and humorous book about spelling, you can’t do better than “Eats Shoots and Leaves” by Lynn Truss. Here’s an Amazon link to her books: http://amzn.to/16teWOi – and nope, this isn’t an affiliate link.
I’ve created one of my purple Infographics to explain why spelling is so important on your blog:
Isn’t it part of the curriculum now?
Now I expect many of you with school aged children will be aware of the changes in how Literacy is taught in schools.
Mr Gove may have been and gone, but his legacy remains. He was appalled at the quality of writing, in particular spelling, grammar and sentence construction, from school pupils.
Now he may be a bit old-fashioned (!), but he did have a point. The quality of writing has been in decline. And this is because spelling hasn’t been taught properly.
And this is because the teachers haven’t been taught properly. I remember sitting in my English ‘O’ Level classes (yes, I’m that old!) bemused at the way my teacher was teaching spelling and grammar to my 16-year old class mates, and thinking that she was doing it all wrong!
How did I learn about spelling and grammar?
Well, as I child I was dyslexic. (I suppose I still am, but have learned to hide it better.) This made me try all the harder to understand what I was reading.
I read voraciously. I really concentrated on what was on the page in front of me, analysing why it was so and how it affected the rest of the words in the book. (Another thing to note was that in the 1970s books were properly edited and checked before being published.)
And because of my dyslexia I used my memory to retain this information. I noticed similar grammatical examples in other books, and noted how they worked. As it began to make sense to me, I applied it to my everyday world (commas should be natural breathing spaces, semicolons are a bit longer but not as long as a full stop, colons go before a list or statement, apostrophes mark the possession of things or if a letter is missing, etc).
Spelling was a little different. But I noticed anomalies and quirks in the English language and retained that information too. Nowadays I’m helped enormously by my computer providing suggestions for me if those little red dots appear underneath my misspelled words.
I suppose my main criteria was not having a life elsewhere to distract me, and this allowed me to focus on words and reading. If you really want to understand something, you will. If partying and socialising is much more fun, you won’t want to bother with spelling and stuff like that, it’s far too boring.
But isn’t the English language changing?
Yes it is, and how we communicate is too. Blogging and social media have transformed the way we talk to each other, and in some cases prevents us from actually ‘speaking’ to each other any more.
For example, if I want to call my daughter down to eat her tea, I text her. If I physically go upstairs to tell her, I get shouted at for disturbing her, and if I tried to call her, her phone goes straight to voicemail. (And I also get ridiculed for writing my texts in full, including capital initials, punctuation, grammar, etc. And for using my finger rather than my thumbs.)
And it happens elsewhere. Rather than picking up the phone to my colleagues, it’s emails and iMessaging from my iPad. I suppose it’s all about convenience and not disturbing the other, who responds when it is OK for her to do so.
What I’m driving at is: the way we communicate, even verbally, has become distorted. OK, thank goodness we don’t talk that they do in Jane Austen’s books, it would drive us all mad! Time is at a premium, information is instant, expectations are immediate, so our spelling methods have changed to suit the modern age.
But the questions are: should all of this be transported into the way we write? Is it OK to use text speak, abbreviated words, slang and street talk, uniform spelling, etc?
What about conversations?
Of course the language we use, how we construct sentences, where and what we emphasise, and which elements receive the most focus, will be reflected in how we write. Blogging should be a conversation with our readers, and therefore needs to resemble a transcription of what we would say. It isn’t going to be grammatically correct; if it did, it would bore the pants of us.
Sentences have become shorter. Full stops take the place of commas or semicolons. There’s no denying this is an American influence, but we really ought (or should) retain our sense of spelling priority and bring it back to the fore.
Mr Gove may be forcing kids to write and spell properly again (with much of this going against the grain), but a decent education needs to be able to be transferred into the world of work. Even the universities are complaining that so many of their students don’t include correct spelling or grammatical sentences in their essays any more.
And there is a nationwide problem of kids not reading enough. Which is ironic, because there is all this wonderful reading material available to them nowadays; much more than when I was young, and had to cope with reading books like Jane Eyre or Little Women.
The simple act of communicating with correct spelling can only maintain, if not increase, our social standing, credibility, trustworthiness, writing ability and expertise throughout the blogosphere. Isn’t it a sacrifice worth making?
What do you think about this?
There, I’ve finished my rant. Now what’s yours?