Social media can be like eating salad with your fingers

social media grammar like eating salad with your fingers

“It’s just going on social media, so the usual rules don’t apply, right?” Planning to post a big announcement about his company, he thought there was no need be concerned with grammar and the like. My answer? No, you don’t have to worry about those things … unless you hope to be taken seriously. As … Read more

The number one rule about grammar and usage

People frequently send me questions about specific rules of grammar, syntax, and usage. Sometimes, clients will respond to something I’ve written by asking me if I know about a specific rule of language. Both groups are often surprised by my replies. There really aren’t any rules about writing — just personal preferences that the people … Read more

Beware the dastardly dangling participle

Grammar and syntax can be funny things. You can have two sentences that appear to be identical, aside from some subtle switches in word order, but they may mean very different things. Take this sentence: “Towering above the company’s production facility, our technician inspected the smokestack.” Or this one: “Born in Schenectady, the inventor’s first … Read more


Did that headline stop you? Of course grammar is full of rules, isn’t it? Your seventh-grade English teacher tried her best to drum all those rules into your head. You remember all that red ink on your brilliant essays.

Hate to burst your bubble, but there is no set of definitive grammar rules. When Moses lugged those tablets back down the mountain, he didn’t carry a copy of the Chicago Manual or the AP Stylebook with him. I wish that had been the case, because it would have been a lot easier on those of us who write for a living.

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I’ll often receive emails asking me about specific rules of word usage.  Or when I submit copy to a client, one of the reviewers will send it back with a comment asking whether I know the rule about something.

The grammarians in the crowd will hate me for saying it, but there really aren’t any rules about writing. There are simply preferences that the people who control the writing expect to see.

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