The Frustrations Of Not Being An English Major

English is my native language but I’ll be damned if I know the intricacies of writing it, let alone speaking it. I’ve learned a few things along the way but there is a part of me that avoids trying to learn the proper way of writing the English language. Knowing verbs, adjectives, possessive this and that. All the stuff I’ve forgotten from the days of school. I’ve relied on the spell checker in the browser and occasionally, I’ll Google the definition of a word before I use it.

In the past few years of publishing content, I’ve been able to avoid people intent on making sure every grammatical mistake on the web is fixed. Sure, I’ve had the comments where people suggest other words or corrected a typo or two and I’m thankful for those. The thing is, if you can understand the point I’m trying to get across, what’s with all this other crap surrounding the point.

In certain situations, I can see how punctuation, grammar, and the like are important for people to understand points I’m making. The ability to publish things I write the way I speak is fulfilling. But correcting this mistake, that mistake, and seemingly never being able to write something that doesn’t require at least one correction, sucks. Why do I have to subject myself to those rules? I’d like to tell the English language to kiss my ass and let me do things my way.

I guess I should just hunker down and read English for dummies and try to at least obtain some semblance of writing skills. After all, if I can stop making those writing mistakes, that’s less I have to bitch about! By the way, style guides are books used to put people to sleep.

5 thoughts on “The Frustrations Of Not Being An English Major

  1. “In the past few years of publishing content, I’ve been able to avoid people intent on making sure every grammatical mistake on the web is fixed.” — You can’t avoid me. :D Resistance is futile. Your life, as it has been, is over. For what it’s worth, my posts have a million more red pen markings than yours before I edit them and send them off to be edited again. Nobody writes perfectly the first time. :)

    • LOL dammit, you always find a way to make me laugh. What do you think of the idea of changing this site’s < 's (see what I learned) to Get Off My Lawn?

  2. I actually have an English degree, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to correct every mistake I make. By the way, you’ll learn more about writing for the masses in Journalism 101 than you ever will in an English class (I also have a secondary concentration in journalism).

    The best few dollars you can spend on upping your writing game is on “Elements of Style” by Strunk and White. It’s short, fits in your back pocket, and gets down to the essence of the English language without all the fluff. It wouldn’t hurt to grab a new copy of the “AP Stylebook” every few years either.

    • I read the first few pages of “Elements of Style” and not only did my head hurt, but I immediately fell asleep. That book generates more WTF’s than it does lightbulb moments.

      See, I think I have to start over at the beginning and then at some point, I’ll be able to understand what that style book is trying to say. That’s if I motivate myself to get that far.

      Is Journalism 101 a book? I think you’ve inspired me to write yet another post on the title of being a journalist. It’s not something I wanted, it was given to me by my peers. I still don’t think I’m a journalist. Not the traditional, truth only, check every fact 50 times type, anyways. There is too much seriousness attached to the word and I’d rather just have been called a WordPress enthusiast without all the baggage that comes with the journalist title.

      • Journalism 101 is your standard, intro-level college course in journalism. It’s often boring, repetitive work, but it teaches you the basics.

        I consider anyone who writes on a public blog a journalist to some degree, unless you’re just writing about your cats. WordPress has democratized this concept. Even newspapers have editorials though. Journalism isn’t all about fact-checking and objective writing (though that’s one side of it). It’s about getting the word out to the people. “WordPress enthusiast” fits snugly into what I consider journalism.

        I guess I look at journalism from a different viewpoint too. It doesn’t seem serious to me because journalists are taught to write for anyone with a 6th-grade education.

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