How can we shoot ourselves in the foot with writing? Simple, we don't pay attention to what we write, especially if we don't believe it important, such as in a Facebook comment or post or a message sent to another person that may be aired publicly. We fail to think we are on display as a writer or editor. Other times, we may hurry and become careless. The fact remains, we need to remember our writing is on display all the time others can read it.
As an author, an editor, a publisher, and a retired English teacher, the number of errors (not just typos, we all have those) found in posts by "authors" or "editors" on social sites makes my teeth clinch in agony. Then along come articles and blog posts by authors and editors full of some of the most commonly known grammar -- incorrectly used. The mistakes found in stories, novels, and other types books become an avalanche.
The word there is used in place of their or they're, or one of the others is used incorrectly. It's and its are interchanged incorrectly, as are your and you're. Those examples are simply a few of the grammar mistakes I read every day. Commas are not used where needed, or they are sprinkled like rose petals everywhere possible. Run-on sentences create a feeling of confusion in the minds of readers.
All right (and that's another mistake, using alright for all right), some people don't know grammar well, but writers and editors definitely should. I don't know that I would want to read a book by someone who can't manage to understand the difference between homonyms (words that sound alike but have different meanings) and/or what version of a pronoun is used as the object of a preposition. For example, I often hear (hear not here), "That's important to Mary and I." Really? He would say, "That's important to I"? Actually, that is what he did say. A compound object is the same form pronoun as a singular object. And I have heard and read that problem from so called well-educated people. Anything between a speaker or writer and another person means the object form MUST be used: between John and me; between my husband and me; between you and him.
I know some people think that using correct grammar isn't important, not even for writers. After all, editors are responsible for making a writer's work "pretty." Wrong. Many publishers do not edit. Whatever the author wrote, the way he wrote it, goes in print, if accepted. Also, I've seen editors make some of the same type mistakes in their writing and editing. Again, I'm not talking about an occasional typo (which we all make and need to watch and correct); I mean mistakes that brand us as not being good writers or editors.
A side note to those who don't believe good grammar matters since they don't write or edit: Not only are writers expected to use their own language correctly, but businesses are expecting their candidates for employment or promtion to use grammar the right way. "Experts" say the use of correct grammar shows intelligence, creativity, and a desire to communicate effectively: traits that employers want in those hired or promoted. I'll cover this topic later, but business experts are presenting arguments in support of not hiring or promoting those with poor grammar skills.
I fought high school students for nearly thirty years, trying to help them understand and use their language correctly. I cringe when I read what some of them write on social sites because I know they should know better. However, I shudder more when people who call themselves authors or editors slaughter grammar.
As I said, we all make typos, especially when auto-correct kidnaps our words, but correct grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure do matter.