Friday, March 10, 2006

Snarky!

Feeling snarky? Huh?!

There are a lot of smart copywriters out there today, but only a few really know how to spell or use grammar correctly. Furthermore, bad habits that they have developed in their conversations tend to spill over into their writing.

Incorrect grammar, poor spelling, and improper word usage really bother me. Many times, I have come across a really attractive idea or program, only to click away in disgust because there were too many mistakes.

Maybe I'm lucky. My peeve with errors in written communication has probably saved me a lot of money. I am not going to fork over any of my hard-earned cash to someone who promises me tremendous success with his program, but doesn't take the time or make the effort to ensure that his copy is flawless before publishing it.

I'm sure I'm not unique.

Some people would say that I'm too picky. Let me pose the following question to them:

Why, when someone is as successful as they claim to be, are there numerous spelling, grammatical, and usage errors in their copy?

One argument would be to say that not everyone excels in those areas. In fact, some really smart people have difficulty putting their ideas into print.

This argument is flawed. There are a lot of people out there who can't come up with a unique idea to save their lives, but they CAN write well. Hire them!

Poor grammar, spelling and word usage is not professional. It makes an otherwise impressive site look downright amateurish.

When I read copy that makes fabulous claims about the success of a program, I struggle to believe it when it's full of errors. If the program is as successful as it is claimed to be, hiring an editor to go over the copy is cheap!

Not everyone IS successful enough, yet, to hire an editor. There are ways to write quite well, without hiring an editor, even if writing is not your forte.

1. Use a good word processing program with a spell checker. There simply is NO excuse for
spelling errors any more.

2. Write short, complete sentences, with as few connectors as possible. Try to eliminate the word, "and" from your sentences. Most of the time, you can use several sentences, instead.

Furthermore, short sentences are easier to read quickly. As an added bonus, tests have shown that people tend to remember more when the sentences are shorter.

3. Use a lot of short paragraphs. Again, people remember more when there are a lot of short paragraphs. Also, short paragraphs are usually correct. Remember, paragraphs are used to break up points into digestable chunks.

(It is interesting to note that teachers RARELY penalize anyone for using too many paragraphs, but OFTEN penalize for using too few.)

4. Do not use words unless you are sure of their usage! Look up the meaning of any word you are not one hundred percent sure of! What does "snarky" mean?

5. Have a friend or family member who writes well read your article. Most people would be
flattered to be asked for their input.

6. Do not be afraid to put your ideas into print. Your ideas are unique to you! You may have the angle that everyone else has missed. Your article may be the catalyst that sparks someone else onto greatness. Just make sure to follow the first five rules!

Now, to satisfy your curiousity, "snarky" is not a word in any of my dictionaries. It IS a word I have used for years, but one, thankfully, that I haven't used in my writing until now.

I decided to look up the word finally, only to find it did not exist. This is one example of improper usage of a word that we commonly use (at least that I commonly use). If I had used this word without an explanation, none of you would know what I meant!

Here is the meaning of "snarky" as I have always used it:

Snarky: adjective: feeling miserable, especially, feeling tired, run down and irritable while having a sore throat and sore eyes. From English: snarly + English Slang: yucky

Now YOU can use it!

God bless,

Dave

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