In today’s world of immediate electronic communications we seem to have forgotten how important the written word still is. The mechanics of writing have not changed. We still send written correspondence. We just send it over the electronic media instead of in paper format. We have become almost entirely dependent on the various “spell checker” programs associated with our electronic communications to make sure we don’t commit any writing errors. We seem to be almost to the point where we are no longer paying attention to the structure and grammar of our documents. If there are no highlighted or underlined words and phrases calling our attention to them, then the document must be correct, right?

Such was the case with my last Blog posting on Silence. In it I was trying to draw together several comments from several different people on the use and sometimes necessity of remaining silent during the course of a discussion. Sometimes I personally have a hard time doing this, as hard as that may be to believe. Regardless of that, the point I am making here is that I violated my own rule about rereading what I had written before I posted it. I didn’t reread it. I have been doing this for a while so I just wrote it and posted it.

When I went back to my Blog a day or two later and reread the article, I was embarrassed. True there were no misspelled words, but there were a number of writing errors where it was obvious that I had changed my commentary idea, and I had not gone back and adjusted my diction for continuity and agreement. I had to take down the article and rewrite several sections before reposting it. In the world of written communications you are what you write, and I didn’t want to be a poorly written Blog post.

In a world that continues to be increasingly dominated by Twitter and Texting, we seem to have lost sight of the fact that how well we write contributes a significant portion to how we are perceived for what we have written. The content of the message is important, but the ability to put it into a coherent written format is important as well. How many of us have been the recipient of an important document only to find that writing errors as simple as subject and verb tense agreement, run on sentences, or words while not improperly spelled were improperly applied (such as “the wind blue…”) were contained within the document? What was your reaction to these diction and grammatical errors, and how did it make you feel about the importance of the document?

When I write something that I will sign my name to, I want it to reflect my best effort to communicate information about that topic. I want not only the information, but also the format to be as clear and concise as possible. When I read documents that contain writing, diction and grammatical errors, I can’t help but feel that the author did not put out their best efforts in its creation. It is true that the informational part message has been communicated, but what other messages get communicated to the reader with sloppy writing mechanics?

I admit that it is a little thing, but I can’t help but believe that I am not the only one that notices little things. Sometimes it is the little things that say a lot about us. While I can’t guarantee that I have caught all the mistakes in this posting, I can say that I have reread it at least a few times before posting it to make sure that it is as free of many of the writing errors that I see in many of the documents I receive as I can make it.

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