Writing Faux Pas

I have tried a number of different cures in my never-ending battle with writer’s block.  Friends have advised me to do a number of things, from writing about my feelings, to free writing, to brainstorms, and so on.  I have even used writer’s tags to spur the writing process.  One of these tags was to write about something that really annoys me, so, here we go.

I tend to be the quintessential grammar nazi.  Generally, when I read something that is grammatically incorrect, I cringe.  Most of the time, the errors are fairly minor, and I just let it go.  Sometimes, however, the errors hit one of my pet peeves that really raise my hackles.  I freely admit to being slightly obsessive/compulsive about my own writing; if I see an error that I have made in something I have written in the past, I have to go back and correct it, no matter how much time has passed since the piece in question was first written.  Since I started working on my degree, and being forced to write paper after paper, this level of obsession/compulsion has increased dramatically.

I believe that a person’s writing is one way to measure that person’s intelligence.  This is not to say that grammatical perfection means that a person is a genius, but it at least shows that a person is smart enough to form a coherent sentence.  Clearly written statements make it easier to separate facts from nonsense.

Rhetorical ability is another measure.  What good is writing a grammatically perfect piece if the writer is unable to properly convey the thoughts writer is trying to communicate?  Understandably, some ideas are more difficult to convey than others, but I think that is the challenge all writers should aspire to meet.

In an effort to get it off my chest, i am going to rattle off a list of some of the pet peeves that really stab me in the spleen:

This list does not encompass all of my pet peeves, but it does list the most common and the most aggravating.  I do tend to be more forgiving when it comes to speaking.  Many intelligent people who can write well tend to be poor speakers.

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One Response to “Writing Faux Pas”

  1. Susan on December 14th, 2008 11:39 pm

    Initially, I felt obligated to correct people. I couldn’t understand how these morons graduated from school without knowing what I believed to be the most basic of proper grammar. Some people take offense no matter how private/casual the correction so instead I began to mentally grade each person’s intelligence according to a system that deducted “intelligence” points for such mistakes.
    In light of text messaging and the need to quickly communicate (using the least number of finger movements possible on an alpha numeric phone pad) I too have become sum1 u wud wanna elimin8 w/a smack of a ref.
    Now my biggest peeve is the obvious, deliberate misuse that serves no benefit but to WTF!
    Communication transmitted ‘instantly’ allows me no guide for which to distinguish a person lacking proper education from a cocky prodigy.

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