Why It’s Time to Throw Out Everything You Think You Know About Writing

I am a bit of a grammar snob. I admit it. The improper use of “your” vs. “you’re” drives me nuts. I have, however, made great strides in avoiding correcting friends and family—nobody likes a know-it-all, or so I’ve been told.

Upon becoming a writer for the interwebs, I’ve had to throw out a few of my trusty spelling and grammar rules that had become ingrained in my mind through years and years of English classes. But when it comes to writing online (this includes blog posts, Facebook posts, Tweets, Instagram descriptions, etc.), your goal should be to sound human, not correct in the sense that our high school teachers and college professors taught us.

First things first: just because you’re allowed to break certain rules doesn’t mean you should throw them all out.

Chiefly amongst them is proper spelling. Nothing undermines the professionalism of an article (and therefore your expertise) like a simple misspelling. Just this morning I was reading a blog post on healthy lunches. At first I thought, “Cool, this girl seems to know a thing or two about nutrition and could give me some great ideas.” By the fourth or fifth spelling error I changed my mind and second guessed the extent of her knowledge. It was a snap judgment. I’m sure she knows what she’s talking about, but the fact that she couldn’t take an extra five minutes to spell check had me questioning her whole blog. Needless to say, I stopped reading. Ouch.

Next: Know which rules can be broken online.

Sentence fragments in an online blog post will be your best friend. They make you sound human. Contrary to what you may believe, we all speak in fragments—rarely do we compose thoughts in preconceived, well worded, long winded sentences. And you can start a sentence with a conjunction (as I just proved). Writing how we speak makes your posts easier to digest online.

And keep reading the article below to learn more important rules for writing great nonprofit social media posts.

Your Middle School Teacher May or May Not Be Horrified: 6 Rules for Online Writing [M+R]


Kathryn Pauley

Kathryn is a regular contributor to the Nonprofit Hub. Soon to be college graduate, she enjoys helping nonprofits understand better how to reach the millennial demographic—cause we are living in a millennial world, and Kathryn's a millennial girl. With experience leading the largest student-run charity event on her campus, she looks forward to bringing her unique perspective to the Hub team every day.

November 21, 2014

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