Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Grammar and Your Reputation.

Does grammar matter? You bet it does. I’ve heard beginning writers say they don’t worry much about their spelling and grammar because that’s what editors are for, isn’t it.

Trust me, it matters. Most editors make their living by knowing what’s right and what’s wrong when it comes to writing. And they get annoyed, fast, at common or sloppy errors. If you are trying to get that first novel read you do not want the editor at the publisher or agent you are querying to get annoyed at you.

But even more, if you want to make your living with words, how you write is your reputation.

What brought this up is that there is a classified ad in my local small-town newspaper for a course in creative writing. In the context of one brief ad there are THREE grammar errors.

Internationally acclaimed author XX is offering a highly successful Toronto Workshops at XX. Add punch to your prose and learn how to get them published.

Did you spot them?
1) Workshops should not be capitalized as it is not a proper noun.
2) Offering a... workshops. Plural noun, singular article.
3) Your prose and... get them.. Again singular and plural in the same sentence.

If this person can’t get his own three line ad correct, why should I pay him to teach me anything?

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