Being, amongst other things, a well established proofreader, I’m always on the lookout for exceptions to a rule and where appropriate helping things fit more neatly into norms and common practices. But I do love it when I find something a little out of the ordinary, quirky or unique. So this month, I’ve been reflecting on the uniquess of leap days; February 29th, a quadrennial day. There are so many things that happen on this date. My personal highs and lows (you decide which are which!) are: the french paper La Bougie du Sapeur will be published once again for just a day; romantic loved up ladies wanting to follow a tradition dating back to the 5th century get a reminder that it’s a customary day to ‘pop the question’ to their beau; if you’re on a fixed monthly rent you can revel in one rent free day; last but not least we get a firm reminder that with each leap year comes the Olympics and the Euro football championship. I could muse over the wonders of this day for a long time, but alas I have other topical themes to write about too.
As the founder of Written Right, what do I want Written Right to be famous for? Well the answer boils down to 3 core values which I try to live and breathe every day:
Small changes to make big things happen.
By being passionate about Written Right and loving every minute of the work I do, ‘work’ really doesn’t feel like work. Loving my work means it’s about a lot more than earning a living. Sure, we all need a roof over our head, but equally important to me is adding real value to a customer’s proposition whilst offering value in terms of a service at a fair price too. So today on random act of kindness day, I’ll be spending my time doing some free proofreading…. because if we all give a little we can make big things happen.
Equality and diversity are often talked about, with modern society thankfully valuing people from all walks of life. But less talked about is unconscious bias, and the way we can inadvertently not promote equality and diversity without knowing it, simply because we don’t like a certain characteristic about someone. So how many people have an unconscious bias where grammar and language are concerned? Quite likely an incorrect use of grammar might lead to assumptions around standard of education, intelligence, pride in your work or eye for detail. Whether you choose to believe they’re important or not, diction, grammar and accuracy are very powerful and can all create first and last impressions.
I’m all for thinking that when all is said and done it’s what you do or say, rather than the way you say it per se that matters the most, but being able to do both is surely a big win!
I’m all for the wonders which have been made possible by the widespread access to the internet, but the article below states that most children have access to phones by 7 years old! Wow; when did that happen?!? Given this is long before many children can recognise all the different genres of language, will it further encourage the use of ‘text speak’ in everyday language I wonder? Thanks goodness for proofreaders!
Most children sleep with mobile phone beside bed https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-51296197
Last weekend , my young son came home from school with his SPAG homework (spelling, punctuation and grammar for those of you not ‘in the know’ of current primary school teaching methods!). Being a bit of a grammar fiend, helping him should have been right up my street! Famous last words! I was met by a sea of technical terms, being asked to help him label subordinate conjunctions, identify fronted adverbials and recognise compound sentences. All well and good for a language expert you might say, but in a generation where far too many still struggle to read and write properly, surely there’s a lot to be said for focusing learning on how to use language properly rather than giving everything a label?
Here at Written Right we’re big believers that good grammar is one of the best keys to communicating effectively, but it appears it can achieve a whole lot more too. Click here to see a recent article linking good grammar to salary achievement.
We’ve all heard the old saying The devil is in the detail, which is why we at Written Right can be your angels in disguise! Here are a few recent examples which we’ve come across recently which might make you smile!
Commas are the difference between embarrassment at the very least!
“Sit down Mr Smith”, rather than “Sit down, Mr Smith”. The original text could have resulted in Mr Smith asking people to kindly give him some space!
“Walk on Charlie”, rather than “Walk on, Charlie”. As above, poor Charlie’s space could feel rather invaded, never mind Charlie feeling squashed!
Choosing the right word.
How many words are there that sound very similar but have subtly or even not subtly different meanings? Their, there, hear, here, to, too…the list goes on! My favourite I heard recently was “You’re wet clothes”. The intention was of course “your wet clothes”, referring to someone’s possessions, but no doubt the original inference could have left someone feeling like soggy trousers!
Another one that made me chuckles was “Recycling preserves are planet”. I’m not quite sure what jam or marmalade have got to do with anything! But our team at Written Wright certainly cringed a little at this one!