Susan 馃悵 Rooks, blog
Bloggers of the World: Untie!

Bloggers of the World: Untie!

Brush Up on Your
American Grammar Skills

Grammar Goddess Communication
Look Smart. Sound Smart.

SusanR@GrammarGoddess. com

How many of you are bloggers?

How many of you can't believe the title of this post?

How many of you saw the goof right away?

How would you feel if it were yours?

A couple of years ago, I wrote a short piece called "The Impotence of Proofreading" based on a YouTube video of the same name, at a time when I had very few connections. I followed it up with several other posts on reading what we've written, not blindly following spellcheck, and so on.

And I still see grammar goofs everywhere. Embarrassing ones. Ones that can hurt a writer's reputation. Ones that should be corrected. But by whom?

And whether you're a native English speaker or someone brave enough to use this difficult language as a second, third, or thirty-third language, the question still remains:

Have you ever had a professional copyeditor check your writing?

If not, why not?

What stops you from asking a professional to check your writing? Expense? Embarrassment? Fear of finding something? You have no idea whom to ask? You never even thought of doing that?

Professional writers know the value of having someone read what they've written; they know how hard it is to proofread their own writing. And they know that whoever does that needs to know right from wrong in this weird world of American usage and punctuation. The fact that their mother, sister, father, best friend, or boss is a really smart person -- or was an English major in college -- may not be enough. Are they smart in American grammar and usage?

Wrong question: "How smart is he?" Right question: "How is he smart?"

And if you're (your) one (won) of those writers who think spellcheck does more (moore) than it does, you (ewe) might (mite) want (wont) to (too, two) check out my Tuesday Tricksters posts, which (witch) are all (awl) about homophones, those devilish words that sound the same but (butt) don't mean (mien) the same thing and are spelled differently. Spellcheck does only one thing well: It checks spelling. It does not and cannot check usage.

You might also want to consult a good copyeditor, just to be sure.

A good copyeditor will help you look and sound as smart as you are.

If you're curious about any one of your blog posts (up to about 800 words), ask me to take a look. I will read it and let you know what I see for FREE. Right. FREE.


Thanks for taking the time to read this post.聽If you enjoyed it, I hope you will . . .聽

Find it relevant and/or聽share聽it, so your connections can see it and perhaps learn too.聽

Comment,聽so you can be seen by my connections. You never know who would be interested in聽YOU! (Ask聽Deb Helfrich聽how well it worked for her!)聽


My previous posts can be seen here on my website,聽and they're easy to find because they're categorized.聽



Do the associates in your company聽look and sound as smart as they are?聽They would if they could take one of my聽Brush Up on Your Skills聽workshops right where they work. If your company hires outside experts to teach any topic to its associates, I would appreciate your sharing my posts and website聽with your Human Resources or Training Manager.聽

Are you a member of an association聽or other group that is looking for a speaker for one of its meetings?聽There are many communication-based topics that would make for a lighthearted and interesting presentation.聽

Relevant Share Comment

Sarah Elkins

5 years ago #27

Thanks, Susan Rooks, what an incredible compliment.

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #26

I udnresatnd yuor lnagugae Pual. ;-)
OK, Andrew Books, that's funny! Do be careful of the little holes, though . . .
And I could read it easily, Paul \, for whatever reason. Thanks for a good laugh!
And even those who did learn grammar have likely forgotten more than they learned, @Brian McKenzie!
With me, siraj shaik, you can never be sure, can you? I often use a provocative title to get some attention . . .
You know my only goal with this type of posts is to get writers to reflect on their own writing, right, @Wayne Yoshida? We all are guilty of writing too quickly, or not taking sufficient time to read what we've written. If even one person reading it slows down just a little -- or asks a knowledgeable person to help -- the post will have done its job. Thanks for always commenting on my posts!
And I had hoped many would have that same issue, Paul \! It's just so damn easy to mix up perfectly good words, and spellcheck is useless there. Thanks for admitting it!

Wayne Yoshida

5 years ago #19

I saw that, but maybe because of the picture. I thought it was going to be a story about going barefoot or - something. Thanks for the nice launchtime - er lunchtime read, Susan Rooks !
Indeed, Praveen Raj Gullepalli, that's one of the tips I often give others; reading in reverse allows a writer to see exactly which words are there! And reading out loud does much the same thing. And for all that, each of us will inevitably miss something, right?

Dean Owen

5 years ago #17

You make an offer one cannot refuse!
I get a huge case of the "willies" when I put anything into print, Lisa \ud83d\udc1d Gallagher. I'm just too aware of how easy it is to not see something.
Sarah Elkins, I always tell my clients that if you're going to goof, do it in the middle paragraph. Not in the headline / title . . . And I think the one I found might be the ONLY one I ever found in your writing. You write very, very well.

Sarah Elkins

5 years ago #14

And you and a few others have returned the favor, Susan Rooks! Remember when I had a misspelling IN THE TITLE?! Now THAT was embarrassing!

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #13

Thanks Susan Rooks!! :))

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #12

Agree, at least we can edit online. To have something put into print.. oh my, I would never even try without having an editor look it over for me!
Do I dare write "cackle," Aaron Skogen? Oh, look. I did.
@Patrick Tindi, I applaud your efforts to work with this language we call English, especially as it's not your native one. Even native speakers / writers struggle with it sometimes. If you ever need help, let me know, OK?
Lisa \ud83d\udc1d Gallagher, one of the best things about publishing on social media platforms is that we can correct things even after we publish. I an always nervous as all heck about having anything printed; once it's printed, I'm stuck! I cannot tell you how many times I've reread a piece after I published it here or on any other platform and smacked myself upside the head! Thank goodness for editing!
Lisa \ud83d\udc1d Gallagher, you just have to ask. Happy to help you if you want me to.
Well, this title was deliberate, Phil Friedman, to see what the response would be (but you knew that, right?). A few commenters mentioned seeing "unite" even though I wrote "untie." And it's kind of goof that can be hard to spot, especially by an author who knows what was intended! And, of course, spellcheck is happy with either word.
Paul Walters has saved me more times than I can remember by catching a misused word, a word that I left a letter out of that was still a good word, or a missing word altogether. I think it's to every writer's credit that they find a good editor/copyeditor whose only job is make the author look good.

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #5

Susan, don't be too hard on yourself. One time as a Senior Editor for an international yachting magazine, I wrote a piece about autopilot technology under a pseudonym, T.G. Rumple (my dog), titled "Iron Mike Meets Curcuit Sally". The piece went though three editors, a proofreader, the art department, and finally to print -- without anyone catching the spelling error in the title. We discovered it months later during an editorial performance audit. We concluded that everyone was distracted by trying to figure out who T. G. Rumple was.

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #4

My dyslexia had me seeing unite at first so you got me on that one Susan Rooks! I may just call on you because I KNOW I make mistakes. I hate when I find a mistake after it's been published. I also realize if there are a few I found, how many didn't I find?! Good read, thanks!

Paul Walters

5 years ago #3

Susan Rooks I am always amazed at the first run through by an editor of one of my manuscripts. Quite frankly its embarrassing !!!!
Thanks, Pascal Derrien! Let's face it: we've ALL goofed once or twice, right? I just hope to keep folks remembering there is help to be had.

Pascal Derrien

5 years ago #1

that was fun to read :-)

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