Perhaps the subtitle should be why we love them. After all, I am subscribed to Grammar Girl among other things.
I can bet that you’ve probably read, in the past year (heck, probably in the past month, maybe the past week!) someone blogging about bad grammar. Odds are that the blog was about the use of they’re/their/there. Possibly about its versus it’s*. Less likely (unless you are awesome and follow the lovable Murnahan) about the mysterious “prolly“, which I am ashamed to admit I once used quite often.
Why are we such suckers for grammar posts, anyway? As writers, we usually know the difference. We usually harp on the subject ourselves. And there’s the rub.
The real reason we love those grammar posts so much (like many other things we laud and applaud) is because they affirm what we already know and like to tell other people. We don’t read them because we need to be schooled on the differences; we read them because they school others on the differences and it makes us giddy. It’s an affirmation of our knowledge, a stroking of our own inner Grammar Nazi ego. Really; why else would you read blog post #910,234,235 about the differences of their, there, and they’re when you have known the rule since grade school?
On the other hand, we rarely read about the smaller, more detailed grammar rules that we ourselves either forget or often break. It isn’t that writers aren’t writing these posts, we just aren’t as interested.
So the question is: what do we really need out of a grammar blog? Is it merely to be corrected on our own failings, or should we be educating ourselves further on grammar and style in those small, subtle areas easily looked over on assumption? Should we deeply examine word history and word use? Should we revisit the basics, or look more at applied usage?
And better yet, how do we stay interested in such a typically dry topic as grammar?
*versus tits? I totally typo’d and didn’t put the apostrophe in one of the its. Goes to show you…