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Does Grammar
Matter?
Julie Harrison
@coffeewithjulieMay 2, 2015
Does Grammar Matter?
You hated it in school; you hate
it now. But that doesn’t change
the fact that poor grammar can
deter...
Sure,
grammar
matters.
@coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
But does it
matter as much
as some
people think?
@coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
So, grammar matters. But how much?
@coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
So, grammar matters. But how much?
@coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
Sentence fragment!
Starting a sentence with a conjun...
Enough to make a reader stop
visiting your blog?
@coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
@coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
Enough to make someone question your
credibility as a writer?
@coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
35% of respondents will question
your credibility as a writer
@coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
Enough to make someone doubt your opinion
on a product review?
@coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
“I often wonder what the
brands think and if they even
read the posts as well.”
21%
@coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
I s...
Why do bloggers make
grammar mistakes?
@coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
Likely, for some of the same reasons as my students …
• Learning disabilities
• Writing in a second language
• Grammar was...
And some additional ones …
Colophon editing team, 1939
Artist Don Freeman
@coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
I am a writer, but I’ll never be a “master”
• What ya’ gonna do with an English
degree?
• Paid to write since 1995
• I am ...
“We are all apprentices in a craft
where no one ever becomes a master.”
—Ernest Hemingway
@coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedCo...
@coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
Tune-Up Lesson #1
Avoiding the Mistakes that
Grammar Freaks like to Mock
the Most!
Quiz!
A. All occasions require caffeine, including conference’s!
B. All occasions require caffeine, including conferences!...
Common Error #1: Incorrect Use of Apostrophe
@coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
Do use an apostrophe for contractions
• “D...
Quiz!
A. After a nice hot coffee, its time for chocolate!
B. After a nice hot coffee, it’s time for chocolate!
@coffeewith...
Common Error #2: Its / It’s
Source credit: The YUNiversity Source credit: Hudson
Quiz!
A. Holy, Bat Man! This BConnected Conference is effecting my brain!
B. Holy, Bat Man! This BConnected Conference is ...
Common Error #3: Affect / Effect
Quiz!
A. This pen is a great complement to the notebook.
B. This pen is a great compliment to the notebook.
@coffeewithjul...
Common Error #4: Compliment / Complement
Quiz!
A. There are so many prizes today that I’m going to need another tote!
B. They’re so many prizes today that I’m goin...
Common Error #5:
Quiz!
This lunch bag has many handy features that include;
insulation, cheerful colours, and zippered pockets.
@coffeewith...
Common Error #6: Semi-colon abuse!
@coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
Tune-Up Lesson #2
Adding Sentence Variety
to Your Posts
Think of a sentence as a bicycle …
@coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
The subject wheel and the predicate wheel
connect to form a stable structure.
Tells us who or what
We can have just one word in each
wheel…
Students studied.
Children play.
But most of the time our ideas include
more details.
We add extra words to the wheels.
The neighbourhood children play at ...
Baskets are excellent ways to create sentence variety.
Once we have a stable structure, we can add a basket on the front, ...
The basket cannot stand on its own; it’s not a
stable structure.
When the music began
When the music began, everyone start...
Earlier this spring, the viaduct was closed because of flooding.
Eight months ago, we bought a truck.
By the time we got h...
Baskets in the middle …
My little brother, unable to sleep, turned on the light.
The elderly couple, walking slowly up the...
Jeff wants a hybrid, his best hope for good gas mileage.
A gentle rain fell throughout the night, lulling us to sleep.
We ...
Readers are looking for the bicycle wheels (the main idea).
Commas help them see the wheels.
The Logic of Punctuation
So if you begin a sentence with a basket,
use a comma to show readers where the
addition ends and the basic sentence
begin...
If the basket interrupts the sentence, use commas to show readers
where the basket begins and ends.
The art gallery, which...
If the basket is attached to the end of the
sentence, the comma shows readers
where the addition begins.
The award was giv...
@coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
Tune-Up Lesson #2
Technology that
Helps Catch Errors
I lied.
@coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
For Wordpress users, this helps …
@coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
The proofreading feature checks spelling, misused wor...
Learn grammar without going into a coma of
boredom…
Grammar Girl (www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar)
Grammar Byt...
Proofreading Tips: Before you
press “Publish”
1. Read your post out loud
2. Triple-check your headline
3. Triple-check you...
Thank You!
@coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
www.caffeinecommunications.ca
#BConnectedConf: Does Grammar Matter?
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#BConnectedConf: Does Grammar Matter?

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How much should grammar matter to you, as a parent blogger? Presented to attendees at the BConnected Conference, held in Gatineau-Ottawa on May 2, 2015.

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#BConnectedConf: Does Grammar Matter?

  1. 1. Does Grammar Matter? Julie Harrison @coffeewithjulieMay 2, 2015
  2. 2. Does Grammar Matter? You hated it in school; you hate it now. But that doesn’t change the fact that poor grammar can deteriorate your credibility. Fill up on some caffeine and join Algonquin College English Professor and fellow blogger Julie Harrison for a little tune-up. Topics to be covered: #1. Mistakes that grammar freaks like to mock most #2. How to add sentence variety to your post #3. Technology that can help
  3. 3. Sure, grammar matters. @coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
  4. 4. But does it matter as much as some people think? @coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
  5. 5. So, grammar matters. But how much? @coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
  6. 6. So, grammar matters. But how much? @coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf Sentence fragment! Starting a sentence with a conjunction!
  7. 7. Enough to make a reader stop visiting your blog? @coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
  8. 8. @coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
  9. 9. Enough to make someone question your credibility as a writer? @coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
  10. 10. 35% of respondents will question your credibility as a writer @coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
  11. 11. Enough to make someone doubt your opinion on a product review? @coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
  12. 12. “I often wonder what the brands think and if they even read the posts as well.” 21% @coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf I start to question whether I want to believe that blogger's opinions/arguments/thoughts on a topic. “If they don't take the time to check and make sure their grammar is correct, how do I know other details of the post are?” “It makes me feel uncomfortable. It makes me question the blogger's work as a whole.”
  13. 13. Why do bloggers make grammar mistakes? @coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
  14. 14. Likely, for some of the same reasons as my students … • Learning disabilities • Writing in a second language • Grammar was not a subject taught in high school (or slept through it!) • Dropped out of school for family/personal reasons • Not taking the time to proofread • Forgetting to use software tools @coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
  15. 15. And some additional ones … Colophon editing team, 1939 Artist Don Freeman
  16. 16. @coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
  17. 17. I am a writer, but I’ll never be a “master” • What ya’ gonna do with an English degree? • Paid to write since 1995 • I am not an author, journalist, novelist • Speeches, newsletters, bios, articles, websites, annual reports, white papers, product feature sheets, investor kits, brochures, billboards, case studies, training manuals, performance reports, RFPs, blah, blah, blah, you name it and I will write it … @coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf www.caffeinecommunications.ca
  18. 18. “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” —Ernest Hemingway @coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
  19. 19. @coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf Tune-Up Lesson #1 Avoiding the Mistakes that Grammar Freaks like to Mock the Most!
  20. 20. Quiz! A. All occasions require caffeine, including conference’s! B. All occasions require caffeine, including conferences! @coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
  21. 21. Common Error #1: Incorrect Use of Apostrophe @coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf Do use an apostrophe for contractions • “Don’t” for “Do Not” Do use an apostrophe to show possession • Frank’s puppy is cute. Do not use an apostrophe to form a plural • It drives grammar geeks banana’s!
  22. 22. Quiz! A. After a nice hot coffee, its time for chocolate! B. After a nice hot coffee, it’s time for chocolate! @coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
  23. 23. Common Error #2: Its / It’s Source credit: The YUNiversity Source credit: Hudson
  24. 24. Quiz! A. Holy, Bat Man! This BConnected Conference is effecting my brain! B. Holy, Bat Man! This BConnected Conference is affecting my brain! @coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
  25. 25. Common Error #3: Affect / Effect
  26. 26. Quiz! A. This pen is a great complement to the notebook. B. This pen is a great compliment to the notebook. @coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
  27. 27. Common Error #4: Compliment / Complement
  28. 28. Quiz! A. There are so many prizes today that I’m going to need another tote! B. They’re so many prizes today that I’m going to need another tote! C. Their so many prizes today that I’m going to need another tote! @coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
  29. 29. Common Error #5:
  30. 30. Quiz! This lunch bag has many handy features that include; insulation, cheerful colours, and zippered pockets. @coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
  31. 31. Common Error #6: Semi-colon abuse!
  32. 32. @coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf Tune-Up Lesson #2 Adding Sentence Variety to Your Posts
  33. 33. Think of a sentence as a bicycle … @coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
  34. 34. The subject wheel and the predicate wheel connect to form a stable structure. Tells us who or what
  35. 35. We can have just one word in each wheel… Students studied. Children play.
  36. 36. But most of the time our ideas include more details. We add extra words to the wheels. The neighbourhood children play at the local park.
  37. 37. Baskets are excellent ways to create sentence variety. Once we have a stable structure, we can add a basket on the front, in the middle, or on the back.
  38. 38. The basket cannot stand on its own; it’s not a stable structure. When the music began When the music began, everyone started to dance.
  39. 39. Earlier this spring, the viaduct was closed because of flooding. Eight months ago, we bought a truck. By the time we got home, it was dark. Irritable after a long day at work, we took a nap before studying. Baskets on the front …
  40. 40. Baskets in the middle … My little brother, unable to sleep, turned on the light. The elderly couple, walking slowly up the driveway, waved at their grandchildren. A modern art gallery, funded by a million dollar grant, is under construction. John Jackson, a friend since grade school, is my math tutor.
  41. 41. Jeff wants a hybrid, his best hope for good gas mileage. A gentle rain fell throughout the night, lulling us to sleep. We are building a home with Habitat for Humanity, a national volunteer program. Everyone wants to leave at noon, even my sister. Baskets on the back …
  42. 42. Readers are looking for the bicycle wheels (the main idea). Commas help them see the wheels. The Logic of Punctuation
  43. 43. So if you begin a sentence with a basket, use a comma to show readers where the addition ends and the basic sentence begins. According to the weather report, tomorrow will be hot and humid.
  44. 44. If the basket interrupts the sentence, use commas to show readers where the basket begins and ends. The art gallery, which opens this weekend, features local artists.
  45. 45. If the basket is attached to the end of the sentence, the comma shows readers where the addition begins. The award was given to James Johnson, the most respected person in our town.
  46. 46. @coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf Tune-Up Lesson #2 Technology that Helps Catch Errors
  47. 47. I lied. @coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
  48. 48. For Wordpress users, this helps … @coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf The proofreading feature checks spelling, misused words, grammar, and style. You can tell the type of error by its color. • Misused words and spelling errors are red • Grammar mistakes are green • Style suggestions are blue
  49. 49. Learn grammar without going into a coma of boredom… Grammar Girl (www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar) Grammar Bytes (www.chompchomp.com) @coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
  50. 50. Proofreading Tips: Before you press “Publish” 1. Read your post out loud 2. Triple-check your headline 3. Triple-check your apostrophes 4. Put proofreading in the plan 5. Did I mention there is no secret sauce? (Caffeine helps! ) 6. When in doubt, look it up @coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf
  51. 51. Thank You! @coffeewithjulie / #BConnectedConf www.caffeinecommunications.ca

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