This post, by Melissa Donovan, originally appeared on Writing Forward on 7/21/11.
Can you imagine a nutritionist who eats exclusively at fast food restaurants? A personal trainer who never exercises? A writer who can’t be bothered with grammar, spelling, and punctuation?
In most professions, best practices and tools of the trade are mandatory. If you want to be a doctor, you have to have a PhD. If you want to land a job in accounting, you need math skills. But writers can easily finagle around best writing practices, especially with the increasing accessibility of web- and self-publishing.
Basic grammar skills used to be mandatory — not just for writers but for all high school graduates. These days, you can get out of college with a degree but no clue how to properly structure a sentence or differentiate between they’re, their, and there.
I’ve lamented about the fact that grammar is absent from education. But I’m even more saddened by the absence of good grammar among self-proclaimed writers.
Good Grammar Habits for Writers
I’m not going to rehash all the reasons writers should practice good grammar. It all boils down to being a professional and showing respect for the craft of writing and for your readers.