I’ve written before about how, as a writer, everything you put out there is your calling card as a writer. Everything that goes public: every email, every tweet, every Instagram caption, every Facebook status – the moment you name yourself a writer (or author, or novelist – let’s not get nitpicky or pedantic here) each typed-out word that is viewed by the world is a part of your image.
And yet, time after time, I read posts and tweets from people whose public profiles proudly and visibly claim their title of “Writer” and then show the world that they either don’t know or don’t care enough to use the language correctly.
Take a tweet I just saw a few minutes ago, where “Name Redacted (Writer)” said “Can you imagine <doing this really big thing> in this <really slow method>, let alone <doing this much smaller/easier thing> this way?”
Now, I do exempt writers whose first language isn’t English (it isn’t mine, either, btw) but by and large, those aren’t the worst offenders.
I’m also not bothered much when people who aren’t writers or editors do this. I can figure out what they meant.
But when someone who announces they are a WRITER, and is constantly trying to promote their work on social media cannot be arsed to get this very simple sentence right…
I’m so-o-o not-good with this.
First (in case you cannot figure out why the statement was wrong) – the sense of this is destroyed by the comparison order. The words “let alone” have a very specific meaning in this context, and it requires, for the meaning to be clear, for the SMALLER task to precede the larger one.
Reversing the order makes the sentence nonsensical.
And the problem with that is that someone who calls themselves a writer (in all-caps, too) in a public venue, needs to show that they know what the ever-loving-fuck language is about. That they understand the simple rules and how to get their basic points across.
Every word you write defines you as a writer. Every sentence you throw out there into the ether goes to your mastery of your craft.
And every error, big or small, chips away at your reputation. Every linguistic miss tells prospective readers that you probably aren’t worth reading.
Proofread you posts, your tweets, your emails. You can’t be 100% perfect every time, but by gum, you should be willing and able to give it a real and enthusiastic effort.