Bad Writing: Is It Just Me?

A while ago, I posted two blogs on grammar rules that I personally felt could or could not be broken. They inspired some lively conversation, including a comment that bad grammar wasn’t half as annoying as bad spelling. So now I’m throwing the discussion open to some of my pet peeves: do these bother anyone else?

  • The use of texting shorthand everywhere. Okay, I know the future will make desktop computers and laptops disappear and we will all use infinitesimally small keyboards to communicate, but it annoys me when someone is corresponding with me using lower case “I” for the first person singular, abbreviations like “np” and other texting shorthand. Does it annoy you?
  • The roaming apostrophe. There is no such word as its’. The possessive is usually made by ‘s, not s’ (one exception is for a noun that ends in s, like Jones: the Jones’ dog). No apostrophe is needed for plurals (so it is wrong to say: the musicians’ played all night). Does the roaming apostrophe annoy you?
  • Random capitalization. There is no need to capitalize every word when you spell out an acronym, just because the acronym uses capital letters. Save capitalization for proper names and titles. So for a specific name like the Search Engine Company, Inc. (SECI), capitalization is correct; but for a generic phrase like search engine optimization (SEO), capitalization is wrong. Does overcapitalization drive you crazy?
  • Misspellings based on sound or created by an electronic spellchecker. Are you sure you meant lead and not led? County and not country? Sensor or censor or censer or censure? Spellcheckers are notorious for not picking up on simple substitutions so manual proofreading is always necessary. Spellcheckers are also likely to change a perfectly good word into another word simply because they don’t recognize the good word, a major drawback in writing that uses a lot of technical or obscure terms. And never forget to turn to your dictionary if you have any doubt at all about compliment versus complement or phase versus faze. Are mistakes like these your pet peeve?

The advantage of having pet peeves is alertness and consistency: I am alert for roaming apostrophes and common misspellings and consistent in avoiding overcapitalization and texting shorthand. If no one on your team is looking out for mistakes that might annoy your customers and reduce the effectiveness of your message, contact me at TWP Marketing & Technical Communications. I’ll make sure your writing communicates clearly and correctly.