A grammar geek’s gentle guidance on 5 ghastly gaffes

In response to recent disparaging of linguists and their fervent devotion to getting things right, the author graciously offers a handful of tips to help you, dear reader, to avoid screwing up.

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As a grammar geek, I took offense to this. Well, that’s an overstatement. I guess I was just disappointed in the generalization, as I consider myself a nice guy and think most would agree.

After all, at the agency where I work, many refer to me as a grammar guru or their writing sensei—much nicer terms than “geek” or, even worse, the dreaded “Grammar Nazi.” True, I’m always watching out for grammar, spelling and punctuation errors.

Because we work in PR and write for journalists, it’s my job to stay abreast of Associated Press guidelines, but I don’t take a “holier than thou” approach to sharing this knowledge.

Needless to say, in my 30-year career—10 spent as a journalist and 20 as a PR professional with an eye to writing—I’ve seen my fair share of grammatical mistakes. However, there are five that I continue to see every day.

Here they are, along with corrections delivered in a kind and constructive manner:

1. And…action!

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