Punctuation-faceIt’s long since been argued that blogging grammar and print grammar are two different things. Despite being written in the same language. One is permanent, while one is easily changed. One is delivered to your front door, and one is browsed on your cell phone in passing. But just because blogs are read in the virtual world rather than the physical one, doesn’t mean that punctuation rules can be thrown to the wind. Sure, it may not be life shattering if a comma is misplaced in a blog (then again, it might be), but what about bloggers who never learned grammar rules at all? Rather than taking a crash course before receiving a license, they jump in headfirst. And oftentimes, no one tells them their tactics are wrong.

If you’re that blogger, or if you’re just looking for a cheat sheet the next time you pound out a post on the keyboard, look to these simple grammar tips for a blog that induces comments on your words, not your lack of grammar knowledge.

Quotes

This poor mark is one of the most-overused in grammar history. For whatever reason, folks think everyday sayings, slogans (in their own ads), and more need to be put in quote form, which simply isn’t true. Unless someone said it or there’s a snarky connotation, leave out the quote marks.

And when used, it goes a little something like this: “My grammar skills are atrocious,” said Mr. Franks. “When I type I tell myself ‘You’ve got to so some research here.’” – Double quotes in all instances, unless it’s a quote within a quote, detonated by single marks. The Brits do it opposite.

Commas

If you’re not sure where to put the comma, read your text out loud. If the pauses feel and sound natural, you’re good to go. If not, try removing or rearranging until it’s right. Commas should also be used in titles and ages, for instance: Gertrude Parker, company CEO and Buddy Thompson, 8 years old.

Lists also get commas to separate items. So you can write this item, this one, and finally this one. The Oxford Comma – the last comma in any list – is technically optional, but I’m a huge supporter. Here’s why. (If there was an Oxford Comma fan club, I’d be a card-carrying member. And if there IS one, why don’t I know about it?)

Spaces Between Sentences

One, always one. Print often gets more because the text is justified (centered to fit across a column evenly), but in blogs and other forms of online content, one space is the only space. Yes, bloggers are aware that thousands of newbies “learned that way in school” but that doesn’t make it right. Your teachers probably also taught you to never use a calculator and that lunch periods only last 22 minutes; neither of which are abided by as strongly as the double space allegiance.

More Spacing

If you’re a lover of the ellipsis – or em-dash (–), which is the same width of an M, both get a space on either side. The normal, or en-dash, doesn’t get the same treatment. For instance the line in en-dash, which has no spaces; it sits right against the letters. But when pondering or pausing as with the ellipsis or em-dash, there’s always a space on either side. Ellipses also get three dots, that’s it. Not four, five, or an atrocious seven. Word will even format them real nice for you.

Lover of grammar or one who’s brand new to the game, look to the above for simple punctuation fixes. They will make your life much easier, while alerting others you may have just have blogged a time or two in your day.