Posted by: faultlessfinish | October 31, 2011

Your Grammar Sucks

The first time I corrected someone’s grammar I was four years old. (“Um, Mrs. Taylor, it’s ‘lie down,’ not ‘lay down.’) Luckily, she was a good sport. I have my grammar-obsessed parents to thank for this.

As an editor, I have to endure a lot of teasing about this particular subject. Friends joke that they proofread their texts and Facebook messages to me before they send them. I’d like to formally defend myself by saying that just because I’m an editor doesn’t mean I’m judging how people speak and write on a constant basis!

Last week, the Calgary chapter of the Editors’ Association of Canada put on its first event: The Great Big Grammarfest. The evening consisted of a lively discussion of our ever-evolving language. While I am all for rules and believe that proper grammar is usually necessary (especially in formal writing!), I’m also fascinated by how we communicate on a day-to-day, informal basis. One of the panelists (also an editor) at the event said, “As long as we can understand what someone is trying to communicate to us, who are we to judge”?

So what’s the point of this ramble? To prove that editors aren’t mean and nasty bullies who think we are superior with words? (Perhaps. Hey, I’m a bit sensitive – I’m a word nerd – doesn’t mean I’m a jerk!) No, the real point I’m trying to make is that while you may be considered an expert in a certain area, it’s important to always keep an open mind and be open to discussion. A fellow freelancer and I were talking about a particular sentence the other day that several other editors deemed wrong. Technically, yes, it was wrong. But it was poetic – and it did not cause the reader any confusion. So why bother arguing it?

Choose your battles, my friends. Learn as much as you can about your field so you know when it’s appropriate to bend the rules. And don’t worry – I won’t publicly call you out on a grammatical error (unless you’re making fun of my grammatical prowess 😉 )



  1. I have also long experienced this problem! Although, there is some merit to people’s paranoia – I will notice, doesn’t mean I am thinking bad thoughts about someone because of it, but I will notice…

    • Very true! Can’t be faulted for noticing.

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