Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesBooks & Authors · 10 years ago

Does anyone else find it hard to take writers seriously when they don't use correct grammar?

"There" instead of "they're"; "it's" instead of "its"; general rules of spelling and sentence structure that aren't being used; no capitalization (when people can't even capitalize at the beginning of a sentence or the word "I"). Anything else that bothers you?


@Christine: Where did I make my grammar mistake? I just said, "it's" instead of "its" (like when people say, "The bird broke it's wing.").

13 Answers

  • 10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Oh God, yes. Proper spelling and grammar are the most basic of a writer's tools, and anyone who calls themselves a writer should be able to use them without having to think about them. If they don't come naturally, practice until they do. A writer who doesn't know the difference between "its" and "it's" is like a carpenter who can't hammer a nail in straight, or doesn't know when to use a hammer and when to use a screwdriver.

    Writers who say, "well I write properly when I'm writing my stories," or "it doesn't matter on a forum like Yahoo! Answers" are missing the point. If u fnd it ezr 2 writ lk dis wen ur not writtin storiz, that means you have to think about proper spelling and grammar when you're writing, which means they don't come effortlessly yet. (Or f u fnd it fstr 2 tk sm ov da ltrs out ov da wrdz, you haven't put in enough practice at typing.) If you have to think about the low-level mechanical details while you're writing, you have less mental capacity available to think about the higher-level stuff like plot and characterisation. That means your story won't be as good as one written by someone who's mastered spelling and grammar - or you'll have to spend longer editing the story than you would otherwise.

    If you want to be published (by a publisher who pays you, not the other way round), your spelling and grammar have to be spotless. Mistakes pretty much guarantee a rejection. No, publishers don't have people whose job is to fix that sort of thing for you - not nowadays, anyway. (To be honest, I doubt they ever did.)

    Finally, don't forget that if you want people to appreciate what you've written, they first have to understand it. If you write in a fast and sloppy manner, that makes your writing harder to understand. If you're asking for advice or opinions on something, I have to spend more time and effort figuring out what you said than I would have if you'd paid attention to your grammar and spelling. That tells me that you think your time is more valuable than mine. (Of course you don't consciously think that, but that's how it comes across.) Don't be surprised, therefore, if I choose to spend some of my time berating you for being lazy and ignorant instead of answering your question.

  • 10 years ago

    @Christine - She meant 'its' as in 'belonging to it', which DOESN'T have a possessive apostrophe.

    And no, I don't take people seriously as writers when they don't have a basic grasp of spelling, grammar and punctuation. And I take them even less seriously when they claim that they just 'didn't have time' to spell and punctuate correctly. If you actually know your spelling, grammar and punctuation in the first place, it doesn't take any longer to use them correctly than it does to use them incorrectly.

    Obviously I'm not talking about a little typo or a missing word here and there - we all do that from time to time and it's no big deal. But when people obviously have no understanding of very basic writing rules and still call themselves writers, it irks me.

    People wouldn't bake a cake with rancid butter, rotten eggs, flour full of weevils and salt instead of sugar and then say, "I know the ingredients might not be quite right, but ignore all that - just taste is and tell me if I've got potential as a baker." So they shouldn't post an unpunctuated grammar mess on a website and say, "I didn't have time to check the grammar so I know there are lots of mistakes, but read this and tell me if it's good."

  • .
    Lv 5
    10 years ago

    When it's a general question or answer, I don't bother because there's probably been times where I've made the same mistakes. But if they post an excerpt that looked like it was typed by a three year old, they're just a big fat joke to me.

  • dgrhm
    Lv 5
    10 years ago

    Serious writers use correct grammar.

    Lazy writers use poor grammar. Spell check features in word processing programs have contributed to poor grammar and spelling showing up. People have gotten lazy.

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  • 10 years ago

    Yes, I do. Recently, I encountered a question that read, "Can u read my story?" Not when you can't spell "you." It is so annoying! If you're such a good writer, you should know basic grammar. What a shame...

  • 10 years ago


    One of the funniest things however, is that Yahoo's spell checker doesn't recognize possessives. Try typing in the word one's, as in 'One must stand up for one's beliefs' and you'll get an 'oops'.

  • 10 years ago

    Drives me crazy. I can pick out spelling and grammar mistakes in books cuz it bugs me so much. Lol

  • Anon
    Lv 4
    10 years ago

    YES! It's annoying. It's slightly more bearable if I know the person's in elementary/junior high and "talks like dis becuz dey wanna look kewl" but as soon as I see this, I can't take them seriously anymore.

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    It only bothers me when they ask for others to critique their writing. If they're just answering questions on here, and I can understand them, I'm fine with incorrect grammar.

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    I KNOW!

    I feel like I'm reading something a kindergartner wrote!

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