By Jami Carpenter, NAMW Member-only Teleseminar Speaker for September
I’ll admit that I’m pretty neurotic when it comes to writing. True, I’m an editor, and it’s my job to correct and perfect manuscripts, ads, brochures, and press releases. But even when I’m not on the clock, I can’t help it. Whether I’m texting-emailing-IMing, posting on Facebook, or just making a grocery list, I spell everything correctly, use appropriate punctuation and capitalization, and always make sure the subject agrees with the verb.
Why do I do this? Why do I care? Granted, I won’t get arrested for missing a serial comma or need surgery for a dangling participle. Ending a sentence in a preposition won’t tank the economy, and people know what Medicare is even if it’s not capitalized. But still I insist on maintaining some semblance of grammatical correctness.
I’ve tried texting “cuz” and “thx” and “c u l8r.” Then I feel like a pre-teen and have a burning desire to draw hearts over every “i” and put smiley faces (no, not emoticons) at the end of every sentence. I’ve written LOL at the end of a blog, but worry that someone will think I’m saying “laugh out loud,” when I mean “lots of love.”
I may be in denial, but I believe that the art of writing will return in full force. Until then, I will continue to follow the rules of grammar in all my correspondence and hope I make my high school English teacher proud.
Jami Carpenter is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, has a master’s in Counseling and Educational Psychology, and was executive producer and host of a television talk show on Vegas PBS that featured interviews with local, national, and international authors.
As a professional editor, she works with traditional and boutique publishers, independent writers, advertising agencies, educational foundations, and non-profit organizations. Jami is frequently a presenter at writing conferences, author groups, libraries, and bookstores, sharing her obsession with good grammar and punctuation as the redpengirl. Learn more about Jami at http://www.redpengirl.com.