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Grammar Policing: A Front for the Unfulfilled Writer

Updated on February 6, 2017

When you write a blog, publish a book, or in anyway put yourself out there, you have to have a tough skin. When your email pings with a new blog comment, or you see a new review on Amazon, your heart leaps and you rush expectantly to see the content.

Of course there are some lovely comments that come in, there are people looking to fight you (the keyboard warriors – we will talk about them another day) and then there are the ‘Grammar Police’. A comment from these authoritarians can be like a smack in the face, and can actually leave an aspiring writer or author rocking in a corner. Hence the need for a hide of steel.

Thankfully my hiney has become nice and weathered and I no longer worry whether they are moaning about my sentence structure or outraged that I missed an apostrophe. Over time I have come to conclude that most Grammar Police have issues of their own, and instead of facing them like to take cheap shots at those of others that actually dare to try.

Here is why you should simply pass over these comments and move on.

Grammar Police Make Poor Writers

There, They’re, Their. Most of us with a good grasp of the English language know the difference between this delightful trio, and seeing the wrong word in the wrong context can make our skin crawl. The best thing to do is acknowledge it in your head and move on. However for the Grammar Police this uber attention to detail actually impacts their own writing and you will often find they haven’t got their own blog, never dared publish a book and are sadly unfulfilled. They are terribly hung up on perfection which means they never get to publishing stage because, perfect does not exist.

As a prolific writer, you will make the occasional faux pas, drop an apostrophe or even leave a word unfinished. You need to get things done – so mistakes happen. Anyone who claims to have perfected the art of grammar to the nth degree is likely to write very boring work! Sometimes, in order to get your point across, breaking the rules is actually acceptable and brings the reader into your world, rather than leaving them at the door wondering if they are going to get in trouble for standing on your crisp white pristine grammar carpet.

Grammar Police Have Time on Their Hands

Most of the errors I make are due to volume of work. I am a woman on a mission! I have 100 projects to do and 100 more ideas buzzing around my head. I know if I have allowed myself to get bored, because I start to slide into the dreaded Grammar Police role myself.

Busy authors and writers simply do not have time to berate others for slips or lapses in their perfect grasp of the English language. Grammar Police should probably get out and find more to do with their world, so consider their critique a sign of boredom.

Grammar Police Could Come Unstuck

The thing about setting yourself up as an untouchable authority on a subject is maintaining your reputation. I haven’t got time or inclination to shoot other people down for their efforts and it is actually a jolly unsporting thing to do anyway. I certainly would not want to start a rumour that I am in anyway close to perfection. Imagine how silly I would look for making an error then. No one is perfect, and if the Grammar Police make an error – which inevitably they will, boy are they going to get it. And I guarantee you one thing – they will not be able to handle it!

What is your experience of the Grammar Police, do let me know!

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    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 6 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      They have helped me immensely. As a self-published author, I can never catch all my own mistakes. Fresh eyes are welcome. And I'd rather be informed when a mistake slips through so I can correct it than have it go on to the eyes of a potential publisher or customer. Mistakes cheapen your work.