Grammar Comics!

Itching for some grammar this weekend? Read grammar comics from The Oatmeal!

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I’m always looking for ways to improve my writing skills. Personally, I find that reading is the number one way to improve spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Reading is my passion, and I always find new books and stories that are both engaging and fascinating.

I also love reading online posts about writing and editing. These vary from Grammar Girl posts to Lifehacker grammar blogs to everything in between.

Twitter is also a great way to keep up with writing and editing. For example, @OxfordWords shares interesting facts about words, as well as words that have been recently added to the Oxford Dictionary.

I’m always looking for new blogs and Twitter feeds related to writing, editing, and the English language in general. Have any suggestions? Send them my way!

When it comes to the subject of reading, I absolutely believe that the phrase “Use It or Lose It” is true.

On the first day of my current job, I received the best piece of advice in years. The Publisher/President of my publishing group was kind enough to take me out to lunch so we could get to know each other. We had common interests and got along well, which was great. At the end of the lunch, we talked business for a few minutes. I then asked him if he had any advice that would help me at my new job.

His advice: “Read. Always keep reading.”

And I have. I’ve always been a reader, whether it’s a new book (or books) from the library, magazines, newspapers, online articles…I’ve always found myself wanting to keep up with the news.

There are so many benefits to reading that it’s hard to compile an actual list.

Reading is essential to not only writers, but also business gurus, teachers, doctors, lawyers, scientists, shop owners, cashiers…The list goes on. Books keep the mind sharp, enhance vocabulary, and provide entertainment, among other benefits.

Keeping up with newspapers, magazines, and online articles are certainly a good starting point. But i strongly recommend getting lost in a great book with a gripping story that keeps you wanting more.

Currently reading: The Help by Kathryn Stockett, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, and My Week with Marilyn┬áby Colin Clark.

Since I just finished reading Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White, I feel inspired to talk about grammar and usage. I have read portions of this book before, but I decided it was time for me to read it cover to cover (OK, it’s only 85 pages, but shh).

Elements of Style: Read it!

Many social media users ignore the importance of good writing skills when posting updates. When users have extremely poor grammar, bad spelling, or missing punctuation, it often reflects poorly on their writing skills. I know, I know. Social media is supposed to be fun! Why worry about spelling or usage? Well here’s why.

Using proper English skills, whether your sentence is short or long, is always important. First and foremost, using these skills shows your grasp on the English language. Knowing the difference between “your” and “you’re” shows a lot about your writing skills. Even the most intelligent people can be perceived as unintelligent if they constantly have errors in their writing. Avoid this misconception by using correct grammar in social media updates!

If you’re one of the many people searching for a job, you should know that employers have a way of finding your social media accounts (whether you want them to or not!) Many employers regard writing skills as the most important skill set for a job. Don’t be lazy; show prospective employers that you are intelligent and can write a solid sentence.

It’s easy to fall into a bad habit of abbreviating words such as “u,” “urs,” or “def.” Unless you have character limits (such as the 140 character limit on Twitter), it’s definitely a better idea to spell everything out. Keeping up with proper usage and spelling on social media sites keeps your mind sharp for those times when you have to write a well written statement, such as an e-mail to a boss.

Those are three important reasons, among many other reasons, why proper English is important when writing for social media. Everything from long-winded blog posts to the tiniest of Tweets should sound professional on some level.

While no one is perfect, it is still important to consider grammar, spelling, punctuation, and usage when writing for social media. Your friends, your future boss, and your brain will thank you in the end.

I will leave you with a few examples of bad writing I saw on social media sites today:

I think these tweets speak for themselves.

…Now back to the Emmys. Go Modern Family!