Did you know that March 4th is National Grammar Day?
When I found out that today was National Grammar Day, a particular question came to mind, which is posted in the title of this blog post.
How concerned should we be with spelling and grammar errors?
If you are an English student or writer, (or even if you’re not,) this question may make you cringe and you may question why I’m even asking such a thing in the first place. But first, hear me out.
Loads of content are being pumped out each and every day. This includes digital news stories posted on websites and slapped across social media timelines. I follow various news sources, from political-heavy organizations to pop culture based, fashion, interior design, writing, travel, art focused, food, and more. I see countless headlines and story teases each and every day.
It would be inaccurate to say that no spelling errors have fell across our timelines. I first began noticing errors after a high school English teacher encouraged us to find inaccurate spellings in the real world. They are sometimes more common than we believe them to be. With a watchful eye, we can locate them quite easily.
I remember sending her one error I found which was on my social media timeline. It was within a tweet from a media station informing followers of a pop culture announcement.
Since then, I have always been alert and have located these errors from a variety of news stations. News stations have editors and proofreaders to help spot these discrepancies before put into cyberspace. Still, errors ensue.
A news outlet may not be the most prestigious of literature one can read, but in some of the most favored texts of several generations, there are literary discrepancies present.
J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter is just one example of this. In one instance within the second novel, The Chamber of Secrets, Percy is referred to as Perry. While an actual name, the example is still a spelling error that disrupts the moment and is unfortunately permanent.
In this scenario, she has built such a massive foundation for herself and has a gigantic fandom surrounding her, that she can make these errors and it not be further discussed, which I find to be interesting. If a brand new author released a book with the wrong character name, would people comment?
Because errors are always likely to pop through, even after rounds and rounds of editing, how much extra pressure should we add to ourselves to avoid them. Because they really do happen to everyone.
Here is my stance:
When writing anything, an Instagram caption, an introduction paragraph for an essay, a poem, flash fiction piece, or whatever, we must understand the importance of the editing stage and consider it seriously. We have to know ourselves well enough to know how many things we can look for at one time and know if rereading will be necessary.
There are a couple ways to look at an error posted or published. First, that they didn’t care enough to double check, triple check. Second, that they made the error purposefully because they thought it to be right, such as mixing up there, they’re, their or you, your, you’re. Its and it’s is also frequently confused and misused. Third, that it simply wasn’t noticed.
And of course there could be other scenarios. But the reader will come up with their own conclusion, even if the answer isn’t true.
When it comes to writing, we all strive for the same essential goal, which is to announce accurate and polished information. Writing can get us half way there, but editing gives us that other segment to really make it worthwhile.