Grammar Police: Watch out!

Another fine article reminding us all that language has rules and we should follow them. This time, the alert is offered up by The Guardian.

The first thing to say is that there is an irony for the broadsheet, whose nickname has been The Grauniad due to its propensity for typographic errors, to be dispensing tips on correct spelling and grammar. However, I would argue that over the last decade The Grauniad has evolved into The Guardian, so let’s not mention that again.

Secondly, I threw this article into the mix because as a writer I spend a chunk of my time trying to work out what to say – and how to say it in as clear and concise a manner as possible (I allow myself to meander more in this blog). My past experience as a financial journalist, and then as a financial technology journalist, means I have deep training in the dark art of word manipulation.

The task is made all that much more difficult because you need to know your audience intimately (no, not that way) in order to best communicate with it. From knowing people’s countries of origin (native English speaker vs second language, UK vs US English) to understanding what level of English is appropriate (for a 20 year old, 30 year old or 50 year old), these factors impact how I write.

The nature of novel writing prevents you from knowing the answers to these questions because you do not know who in the future will read your work. At best, you might know who has read something else you’ve written in the past. There is an essential disconnectedness between writer and reader and it comes into stark relief when we talk about grammar.

I was hoping this was going to be more optimistic when I started this post, but I was wrong. Hey ho.

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