First, I read the card like a mother, smiling at the message, my heart missing that grown-up boy. But then I read it again, proofreading the note like a writer. And thank goodness, I still smiled. (He should’ve capitalized Lego, but he did get the apostrophe right, so it’s all good.)
Now, before you start thinking that I’m some kind of writing snob, I’ll bet you do the same thing, if you’re a writer. We can’t help it. We’re all about the words and the grammar and the sentence structure and we can’t just turn that part of our brain off and on like a spigot, right?
But it’s more than just being a writing snob.
I mean, I’d still love that boy, even if he wrote “their” when he meant “there.” But I’d correct him, too. I wouldn’t want him making mistakes in business emails or professional letters, or even social media posts and postcards, for all the wide world to see. Because a mom may overlook errors, but others may not judge so nicely.
I think people–and when I say people, I mean writers and non-writers alike–need to be able to express themselves correctly and effectively through the written word. So I want middle school teachers to take off points when a student uses “there” instead of “their.” I want college professors to demand error-free papers, even from Physics majors. And I want my kids to write lovely postcards all the way from New Zealand without grammar mistakes.
I guess I am a bit of a writing snob. But I’m a snob who appreciates how hard it is to put words to paper, so keep writing. But proofread your work, okay?
(How about you? When it comes to writing errors, do you correct friends and family, or do you let it go?)