Lisa Wehr's Public Health Blog

Lisa is originally from Sigourney, Iowa. She attended Iowa State University and received her bachelor’s degree in Music in 2010. She is currently a first year Master’s of Public Health (MPH) student in community and behavioral health (CBH). Lisa works on the medicine-psychiatry unit at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC). Through this blog Lisa hopes to let people learn about the CBH department.

This student blog is unedited and does not necessarily reflect the views of the College of Public Health or the University of Iowa.

18 February 2011

Grammar and Writing

My younger brother calls me a grammar snob. I'm not. Really. I mean, I listen the the GrammarGirl podcasts, and I own Grammar Girl's books, as well as a couple of Diana Hacker's books, and I have a slew of grammar bookmarks in my browser. But I equate being a grammar snob with having perfect grammar/writing. At this I surely fail. Yes, mistakes bother me. Yes, I point out other people's mistakes. But I know that I have plenty of my own mistakes. Despite my attempts to edit I would venture a pretty large bet that several slip through. And there are probably grammar errors that I make that I don't even know I'm making (ignorance is bliss?). In most of my writing (formal and informal) I try to write things as concisely as possible. I also fail at this quite often.

I can be pretty hard on myself about grammar, which is why blogging can sometimes be such a relief. It gives me a legitimate outlet for a more informal writing style. I can pull out my favorite [often questionable] writing vices.

  • I like to ask questions and then answer them (check out a couple paragraphs down). I'm sure there are times that I overuse that technique (probably every blog post). 
  • I like to use ellipses (...) although I do my best to restrain myself since there are very, very few uses in formal writing and it is oh so easy to overuse them and drive people nuts. Extreme use of the ellipses bothers me too.
  • And my use of sentence fragments? (see that one there!) I like to tell myself it is "stylistic" and not just plain wrong. Mostly I use them for my question asking, but I occasionally use them for emphasis (such as right after the first sentence in this post. 
  • I also have a love affair with parenthetical remarks. This is because my brain thinks like that. Severe caffeine use makes it worse. Sometimes to the point where what I write is almost impossible to follow. The majority of my editing involves removing my tangential thoughts, or at the very least making them less obtrusive. I attempt to spare you all the torture of my mind. I live with it 24 hours a shouldn't have to. 

  • Not as easy to spot, but I can get rather verbose at times. I forget that writing "I think" or "every single" or "so amazing" is redundant. The remainder of my editing revolves around removing those.
I'm positive there are many many more. But the beauty of blogging is that I can use them. I can evaluate where they work and how many is too many. I can edit. And none of it is graded!

    1 comment:

    1. I've finally gotten your blog on my Google Reader.

      I don't think I've ever called you a grammar "snob". Possibly remarked upon your love of grammar podcasts, though.

      I find when I'm writing blog posts I always want to throw loads of sentences and phrases in parentheses also. I usually edit them out before I publish it.