Here is Hielke Vriesendorp’s first blog post:
Whilst Google-searching for online usage advice, I expected to find many different sorts of websites, but I can’t say I expected usage advice on lifestyle blogs, which were otherwise giving advice on relationships, motherhood, and beauty products. To my surprise, this was actually very common!
For example, take a look at the lifestyle blog Belle Brita, which posted a top 7 of Grammatical Mistakes Bloggers Need to STOP Making among articles about on relationships, marriage, and motherhood. Or self-proclaimed yoga junkie Paige’s An Uncomplicated Life Blog, which between posts on DIY face washes and essential oils included one on 5 Common Grammar Mistakes to Stop Making Immediately (see image). Who would have expected to be given usage advice in such an aesthetically pleasing way?
These type of posts online seem to always be shaped in handsome lists with appealing titles, possibly to attract new visitors. It seems like the promise of getting usage advice has become so enticing that it can even be used as clickbait: there is an article on 20 Common Grammar Mistakes Everyone Makes on a website that otherwise only gives tips on ‘How To Get Your Buttocks Bigger Naturally!’.
Has grammar become cool? Is there a new generation that considers it hip to condemn a split infinitive? I’m curious to see what you think.
And if you were to write your own blogpost on the five worst grammar mistakes, which ones would you pick? If you’d like to contribute to my research on usage advice top lists, you can fill out my 5 minute survey here. Your help is greatly appreciated!
You should check out comic strips for discussions of usage. They are a reliable source of jokes, and some comic strip writers specialize in them.
There’s a whole Web page devoted to tracking them:
The notion that objections to usage are an obscure, isolated phenomenon is nuts. They’re very widespread and common in all sorts of popular culture.
The Internet has transformed discourse by allowing almost everyone to read and judge everyone else’s writing.
First you sign up to write a blog, then you join a Blogging 101 course that suggests you write numbered lists, then perhaps it suggests grammar posts are popular, et voilà you have a spate of grammar posts as clickbait. Incidentally, posts by a blogger called Grammar Girl often seem to crop up, The Grammarist is frequently shared and memes about poor grammar and spelling abound, including the Dutch version, Taalvoutjes. A large proportion of my online friends are readers or writers or other language professionals, or at the very least, living as expats and therefore interested in language as learners. Everyone seems interested in language and its correct usage, or more to the point, its incorrect usage because that is funnier.
Dear Hielke, Interesting post. Every morning I visit the AOL home page to check my e-mail for spam. Part of the home page activity is a running list of news/sport/lifestyle/advertising teasers to tempt you to click and follow through. On 17 April 2016, one of these was “Fourteen grammar mistakes”, which led to this page:
Interestingly, when I access the AOL home page from the UK, I get twenty-two of these teasers; when I access it from Spain, I get forty-two. Not sure what to make of that!
And here is another one, sent to me by Joan Beal: http://gu.com/p/4tteq/sbl.