Good Sentences

This Sylvia quote made me smile. I am driven to distraction by BAD sentences (and paragraphs, and articles) on the internet these days.

Let me live, love, and say it well in good sentences.

Sylvia PunctuationOkay, I get it, this post is going to have to be grammatically perfect, with no punctuation mishaps, right? Well, I can’t guarantee that will happen. But I will try my absolute best!

Every day on social media, I see memes, articles, status updates, Tweets and more that make me utterly despair of the state of the nation. Were we always this bad? Or did we just not see it, pre-internet, because no-one was writing anywhere?

As a journalist, at a time when newspapers employed good sub-editors, and plenty of them, any punctuation mishap or misspelling, or grammatical error would be picked up before my article went to print. I like to think the subs who worked on my copy didn’t have too much to do, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t perfect!

However, I did try to school myself on the simplest of punctuation and spelling mistakes. It’s, its;  their, they’re, there;  should’ve, should have, should of–I know what’s right and wrong, and what goes where, and when.

I HOPE my comma use is right. I am a professional writer, and, like Sylvia, I just want to use good sentences. I remember my first Editor, sending me a file (waaaaayyy before email) on our internal office computer system, littered with apostrophes in the wrong place. It was cruel, it was sarcastic, it was typical of him (he had tabloid journalism wee-man syndrome, but I am assured he is a better man today!), and it hurt.


He was right. I don’t have an English language degree. I was trained as a journalist on the job, and it was his job to train me well. Every single time I use an apostrophe now, I think about the placement of it, and my reason for using it.

I see so many stray apostrophes on the internet on a daily basis, I imagine an apostrophe factory, churning them out at double-time, desperate to keep up with demand.

STOP IT PEOPLE! Just stop with the rogue apostrophes, please, for the love of whoever, leave the apostrophe alone!

Maybe today, journalists aren’t being given the training I was. And with no subs to pick up these mistakes, as online newspaper copy is so often filed straight to the page, they’re left where they are written.

I can forgive the bloggers, the meme creators, and the social media updaters, to a point.  (Pardon the pun…) But I can’t forgive the journalists who upload copy littered with mistakes.

Do as Sylvia says, please. Live and love, but in good sentences!