A few weeks ago I discovered this video on the Guardian’s website in which the presenter complains about grammar snobs.
She starts off by saying:
Grammar snobs are patronising, pretentious and just plain wrong
This made me laugh, but I do consider myself to be a bit of a grammar snob. I think if you are a writer you need to set yourself a higher set of standards then those who don’t write professionally.
I do sympathise and agree slightly with the presenter when she talks about grammar rules which are commonly overlooked in everyday speech. Whether to use less than or fewer is a good example of a grammar rule that by convention is overlooked by many people.
Taking grammar seriously doesn’t necessarily mean you are using an elite form of language in which to elevate yourself above others.
Grammar is about having a set of common rules and conventions that allow people to understand what you are attempting to say and communicate.
Where things get tricky is when perceived grammar rules are actually more conventions which can go in and out of fashion.
It was drummed into me as a child that I should never start a sentence with And or But. As I’ve got older I’ve wondered why I can’t start a sentence with them. People will still understand what I’m saying so what is the problem?
If you are a content writer you have to take grammar seriously as the content you’re creating is a reflection of your skills and capabilities in a way that might not apply to other people.
For this reason you should take pride in taking grammar seriously. I’m happy to admit that I don’t know every grammar rule but I feel I always need to get the basics of grammar right both for personal and professional reasons and that’s something I’m certainly not going to apologise for.