Writing Tip: Learn Your Craft

I was at a restaurant last night, reading the menu, trying to decide if I wanted to eat a second dinner that evening. (Yes, that’s right, second dinner. Don’t judge me.)

While deliberating, I came across a misused apostrophe. Instead of just added an “s” to denote the plural form of a word, the genius menu copywriter added an apostrophe and an “s”. Because apostrophes are classy or something…

I sighed. Not again. Who proof-read this thing, anyway?

It may sound like a minor issue, but those things really bug me. While you may not be a stickler for grammar like I am, I’ll bet that you have something that irks you when you see people not do it right. For instance, I imagine that that it might bother someone (maybe even you) to find that the family doctor earned her credentials to practice medicine on a two-bit website.

The bottom line?

Presentation matters. Does your lawyer wear T-shirts and flip-flops? Do you expect your mechanic to call the muffler “the noise thingy”? Of course not. You expect excellence in the service that you’re being provided.

And while the food at the restaurant was great (I opted for dessert), the bad grammar still bothered me and hurt my trust in the brand. Why did I care? Because somebody was paid to write that menu. And somebody did a bad job at it.

If you’re a writer (crafting copy for a brochure, menu, whatever), you need to spend some time learning how to write well. That means, whether you like it or not, gaining some decent knowledge about not-so-fun things like grammar and punctuation (well, they’re fun for me, but not everyone).

There’s no way around it. If you want to be good at something (anything), you have to learn your craft.

On a side note, am I the only one who notices awful typos in food menus? I think there’s a huge untapped market here (seriously).


4 Comments on “Writing Tip: Learn Your Craft”

  1. My friend and I notice stuff like this all the time, including menu typos which bother me a lot. We recently saw a chalkboard menu that said “Today’s Speials”! I don’t understand the excessive use of quotes: Enjoy a slice of our “apple” pie–is it sarcasm or emphasis that should really be in boldface?
    –C. Holland

  2. Interesting how you tie this into a greater point about learning your craft. Proper grammar may not get me out of bed in the morning, but the idea that anyone who I might hire as professional ‘know their stuff’ is certainly a fair expectation. Nice share Jeff.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s