Monday, January 16, 2012

A Call to Arms: Let's use proper English!

Dear Fellow Bloggers:

I love you.  I love your generosity,your creativity, and your downright charm.

Please bear this in mind when I tell you that  I'm also completely dismayed by the appalling misuse of the English language among many bloggers. I'm amazed at the total disregard for proper grammar. Even those who tell us that they're homeschooling their children don't seem to understand the difference between "its" and "it's" or "their" or "they're." There's an bewildering use of improper pronouns, as in "Him and I went to church this morning." (Oh, and, by the way, that should be "He.") In among the wealth of resources, hapless readers stumble asunder on awkward phrasing, incorrect wording and even misused words and phrases..

Am I being fussy, nitpicking or overly critical? True, I've been a professional writer for a good portion of my life, and I'm so old, I  went to school when my major was called Journalism and not Communications. Nonetheless, I think language standards are important, even for nonprofessional writers. And I think we can do better. We all need to edit and proofread more. If you're confused about usage, check resources online or at the library. Take note of how language is used in newspapers of record like the New York Times or the Washington Post. Purchase the Associated Press Manual of Style or other grammar guides. My favorite remains the endearing and enduring "The Elements of Style, " the slim guidepost for writing clear, correct English. 

I know we can do better. Please, fellow bloggers, won't you join me in making the blog world a place where we can expect a high level of  writing and language?

I'll leave you with words from the preface of  the esteemed  "Little Book:"

Unless someone is willing to entertain notions of superiority, 
the English language disintegrates,
just as a home disintegrates unless someone in the family
sets standards of good taste, good conduct, and simple justice."
--E.B.White, The Elements of Style

With best regards to all,

* "The Elements of Style," by E.B, White and  William Strunk, Jr., is available for $10.00 or less. It's a clear, concise guide to the rules of English usage in literature, composition and grammar.

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