I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people write that proper grammar does not matter when you’re writing something online. “This is not an English paper” or “I’m not in English class,” or something to that effect often follows being corrected by someone.
However, I’m not going to use this time to bash anyone for not using proper English and grammar when writing online. Correcting someone, as politely as it’s done, is seen as bashing anyway, but I won’t even speak about others doing it as much as I will speak about myself and how I do it.
Each time I write something to someone, I will proofread it before I send it to them. It could be a little bit of habit and little bit of OCD. Every now and then I may bend a grammar rule, but not often. However, there are times when I catch a mistake and considering that many people truly don’t necessarily care about these mistakes, I’ve caught myself wondering; if it’s a small enough mistake, should I even bother with changing it? After all, the person reading won’t necessarily care. I don’t take offense when people correct me, as long as I’m not being called some form of stupid for making the mistake. In fact, I would prefer that people didn’t just let it slide if they saw a mistake in something I’ve written.
That’s when I realized that as long as the message is conveyed, the way I write is not for other people. It’s for ME.
I shouldn’t let mistakes remain because other people may not care about them. I should make the corrections because I know they’re mistakes. I know better. Other people don’t have to know all the rules of writing. I know the rules and I should follow them all the time…not just when other people who share my sentiments are doing the reading.
I’m an English and grammar nerd anyway. I love this stuff. One of my favorite reasons is because people actually do notice, even if they’re not big on proper grammar themselves. Many times, I’ve had people tell me that I write or even speak very “proper,” and often, they have a mild look of displeasure on their faces, as if something is wrong with it. Well, I never view using proper grammar as wrong, however unpopular it may be.
However, quite a few people actually do respect me for being that way. I’ve been complimented and viewed as an intelligent person for writing this way. It has been the same when speaking. Every once in a while, I get these compliments online and they’re pleasant surprises. This is exactly how I would like for people to view me.
This has not always been easy for me, though. As a black man, of course, the black community often frowns at people like me who write and speak the way I do. Apparently it’s not something we’re supposed to do. At one time, I avoided doing it so much so that I wouldn’t feel embarrassed. I eventually got over that and realized that THIS is who I am. I’m not offending or bothering anyone, so this is an aspect of my personality that does NOT need to change. Sometimes, it can be very easy to allow others to sort of change who we are because of how they are, but what makes us unique is the ability not to do this.
After all, I enjoy being treated the way I am because of who I am…not treated the way I am because of who everyone else is as a result of me following what they do or accept.