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Focus On: Grammar Blogs

You might have noticed that we’re grammar nerds here at the Daily Post. While we’re healthily obsessed with the topic,…

You might have noticed that we’re grammar nerds here at the Daily Post. While we’re healthily obsessed with the topic, we don’t post about it exclusively, but there are some bloggers who do. If you’d like to try your hand at posting about grammar or linguistics, here are some ideas inspired by WordPress.com grammar bloggers:

  • Rant about your pet peeveDoes a particular mistake really make your blood boil? Do you grit your teeth every time someone says “for all intensive purposes”? Does it make you scream whenever someone verbs a noun? Blog (forgive the verbed noun) about it. The outlet will do you good.
  • Go into depth about a less often examined issueSome grammar mistakes – it’s/its, your/you’re – are frequently pointed out, albeit to little avail. If you have knowledge of a less commonly discussed grammar question, share it. If you’ve always been curious about the rules for a more complex language issue, do some research and write up your findings.
  • Pick on a beloved movie, song, or author. Using a specific, widely-known example to illustrate a grammar mistake is a wonderful way to punch up such posts.
  • Or praise a beloved movie, song, or author! Is there a movie or a song you could use to highlight language principles? Do you know of an author who never once misuses a word or splits an infinitive? Sing their praises.
  • Pick a side. Did you notice my use of the singular they just above? Did it irritate you, or did you consider it a workable solution to our lack of gender-neutral pronouns? How’d you feel about the Oxford commas above it? Certain points of grammar are divisive, and posting about them is guaranteed to stir up some debate.
  • Tell an origin story. Where did the word groovy come from?  When did we start using “neat” to mean “cool”? Or cool to mean cool? Why do we say “in a pig’s eye”? There are an endless number of neat, cool words and sayings to investigate.
  • Theorize. Some of the more interesting grammar posts are about grammar itself. Where did the rules come from? How important is the ability to write properly today? How important should it be?

Finally, in a post about proper grammar, it’s inevitable that I butchered at least a sentence or two. I look forward to your pointing out my mistakes in the comment section! And if you know of any great grammar or linguistics blogs we should be following, be sure to mention those, too.

82 Comments

  1. Fellow word nerd and grammar geek here — thank you for the fun post (though I’ll admit to getting slightly squeamish at a few of your examples!). I’m not sure about any specific great grammar blogs, but I will tell you a fun grammatically inspired exercise: Look up “eggcorns” — and write about your favorite one. Mine? “Doggy-dog world” and “lame-man’s terms.” Fun stuff! :)

  2. wow, I had no idea there were grammar blogs!! I am one of those sticklers for grammar, having a degree in Spanish. that just means that I learned (or relearned) a lot more about English grammar in the process of learning Spanish. Thanks for this post, I will definitely be looking over some of these blogs!

  3. Here’s a grammar challenge: How to suggest to friend bloggers that they check their grammar and punctuation before posting! (Of course, we’ve all had typos that make us cringe, but I mean the serious errors…)

  4. I’m a grammar nerd myself. I’m actually called the English professor where I work. My colleagues usually check with me for any grammar errors in theirs mails and reports. I’m very paranoid before I click the publish button of my post. And even more after posting. I read my own post over and over again to make sure that there are no grammar, spelling or punctuation errors in it. Another way of checking it will be to enable the spell check option in the browser and making sure you proof read your every post before you post it.

  5. Question? What are Oxford commas? Terribly Write is a fun grammar blog. I am not a grammar stickler, but I do try hard to polish my writing before I publish it. I am more focused on whether or not the writing style of the blogger communicates well, so my pet peeve is a lot of unnecessary verbiage. I especially dislike disclaimers before a writer just gets to the point. I think being overly worried about being “politically correct” can eclipsed reality. I am in love with writing that tells it like it is, tactfully, of course. The same goes for being so overly worried about being grammatically correct that the writing loses its charm.

  6. My pet peeve: people who depend on spellcheck and the grammar checker to find and correct mistakes. When will they ever learn that it cannot differentiate between there/their/they’re and the rest.

  7. My blog features Troublesome Pairs of words that people often mix up – I get the examples from my work as an editor and from suggestions from friends and readers. I try to keep them simple, with light-hearted examples – and one of these Pairs is my most popular post ever!

      1. Thanks, Lauren – that’s a good one and I’ll add it to the drafts. I like to have a few in reserve, a few ideas, some half written up and some ready to publish!

      1. Thank you! I try to keep things varied on my blog and people enjoy these – and search for them like mad, so it keeps on giving to both my readers and to me, in terms of traffic!

  8. My pet peeve is people overcorrecting the I/me and saying “Give it to Jane and I.” Shudder!

    My grammar is fairly good, but I’m hopeless at commas.
    Will someone please do a series on commas for dummies? Maybe with a nice little rhyme to remember all the rules? And let me know! Thanks.

    1. Delft–This is a great idea, but there are two to too many comma rules to make up a little ditty. It would have to be an epic…I found a little gem called Pocket Keys for Writers by Ann Raimes. It’s spiral bound, small, and concise. (Get the older edition–the new one is pricey.) You don’t have to spend hours looking for the correct rule…

      1. Thanks for the tip.

        Writing the above made me self-conscious about commas today, so I read rules, changed things back and forth, and became totally confused in the end.

        I’m not sure if I do better when I try, or when I just forget about it…

    2. I have a related peeve: putting I/me first, as in, “Me and my friend rode our bikes.” I was taught to always refer to others ahead of myself in a sentence.

      1. “Me” is an object pronoun. ” I” is a subject pronoun. Jane and I took lessons.
        The subjects are Jane and I. Give it to Jane and me. “It” is the subject, Jane and me are the objects. The test is to take out the other person and see if the pronoun works. Examples: I took lessons. Give it to me.

  9. Here’s a less often examined issue (or, as Fowler would have it, not that I agree) a less-often-examined issue. “If you have knowledge of a less commonly discussed grammar question….”. “Have knowledge of”? What’s wrong with “know”?

  10. Great post.. I love grammar and will definitely check out some of these posts..
    Post Script- There is a grammar No-No in one of your FP titles today..can you spot it? :-)

  11. This is great. I’m by no means an exclusively grammar blog, but I do have a rant about one or another aspect periodically. Only, I do it in rhyme …
    I have a post coming up on the subject of ‘quite’ versus ‘quiet’. Would you believe it, a number of teachers I have come across get that wrong.

  12. How about the epidemic use of “could of” instead of the proper conjunctive “could’ve” or “should’ve” or “would’ve”? One might also use the proper longhand: “could have.” This grammatical error is my pet peeve “du jour.”

  13. I have no particular pet peeve I wish to share right now, but I would direct people’s attention to George Orwell’s essay, “Politics and the English Language,” in which he discusses a few of these very issues, albeit with the angle that it conduces to fuzzy thinking as well as writing. The main thrust of the essay was, of course, that in his time, and no differently today, the English language is being systematically misused by people who DO know better, and are unfortunately not being called on it. Of course, those who do not have the same grasp of the language are at a disadvantage in trying to discern where the BS’ing is taking place. But aside from going after the politically motivated deliberate bending of language, Orwell also scored the use of tired hackneyed language, in that it contributed to that lassitude in thought I referred to earlier (I tell a lie– pet peeve: “allude”/”elude”– I “eluded” the grasp of “alluded” by using “referred”). Orwell had proposed rules for clearer writing such as avoiding common similes/metaphors, using words with fewer syllables whenever possible, and the like, but my favourite was the last: “Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous!” It is worth a read or a re-read, and I encourage all to do so.

  14. I’m getting more and more frustrated with the increased use of ‘addicting’ in place of the word ‘addictive’. I think it’s an Americanism, but ‘addicting’ just sounds hilariously wrong…

    1. Well, I think the whole point of grammar is to insure you get your message across. I suppose it depends on your audience, but I don’t enjoy reading something that has a lot of errors.

      1. Absolutely. You can usually get your message across with a series of grunts, but words in the right order are quicker, plainer and more elegant. And talking of pet hates, it is NOT necessary to resort to capitals if the words are clear.

  15. Here’s an exercise – look at the amount of people who profess to be grammar or spelling nerds then go on to make simple mistakes!

    Here’s a tip I learnt from an old copywriter in the advertising world: when checking for spelling mistakes, read your work backwards.

    Enjoy!

  16. Spell-checkers do not distinguish beween any homophones, as was mentioned above. sometimes it is necessary to really consider the meaning and whether/weather there/their are other spellings!

  17. I love grammar blogs! I look forward to following some of the links above. I’m no expert, but some of my biggest pet peeves would be “should of” instead of “should have,” the I/me thing (“Me and her are going…”) and using “myself” instead of “me.” Is that one technically incorrect, or does it just sound bad? It seems to come up in business writing… “please respond to myself about…..” Why not just say “me”?? The one that really makes me cringe though….. “I seen that movie.” Aaaahhhh!!! ;-)

  18. My biggest pet peeve is the misuse of “than” and “then.”
    Something I personally struggle with is when to, or when to not use dashes between certain words. Of course, Firefox spell check is no help because a good 95 percent of the time it offers both as a viable spell check options.
    Sighhh, the English language is so strange!

  19. A great new book on this subject is “What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z: How to understand crazy American culture, people, government, business, language and more.” One chapter is on grammar and identifies common mistakes made by foreigners (and Americans!) plus it gives tips to adding polish to your writing and speech. It is endorsed worldwide by ambassadors, educators and editors.

  20. I’m in, at last! I speak Spanish and Italian too, and I think it’s quite important to observe every paragraph written for everybody and try to help and learn for improving our communication. Thank you in advance for your comments.

    1. I would also like to be corrected for my mistakes! I speak Italian and Spanish ,too, and I know that my English is very influenced by my Latin roots,though my spelling is not so bad…….Any help would be welcome!

    1. I think a Geek can have a pejorative meaning, but often just refers to people who are kind of extreme enthusiasts with hobbies or interests out of the mainstream, and generally more absorbed in their preferred activities, to the exclusive of other activities, than most. My sister and her boyfriend are geo cashing Geeks, for example. Some people are technology geeks. The comment writers here, calling themselves geeks, probably spend more time and care more about the minutia involved in writing. If a person is so involved in one such activity, they can be out of the mainstream “loop” with regard to fashion trends, movies, popular music, politics, books, celebrities, television, sports, etc. They are sometimes considered “out of it”
      because they are in their own world with such a depth of interest in whatever they have chosen to pursue, that they don’t fit in, in a lot of social situations. All this being said, the term can be used “loosely” rather than to the extreme. Doesn’t mean they are not likable, but you kind of have to go into their orbit to make a connection with them.

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