Grammar Girl says correcting someoneís grammar is, well ó
Fogarty, a.k.a. Grammar Girl, is a magazine writer, technical writer, and entrepreneur and has
served as senior editor and producer at a number of health and science
websites. Fogarty has a B.A. in English from the University of Washington in
Seattle and an M.S. in biology from Stanford University. She believes that learning is
fun, and the vast rules of grammar are wonderful fodder for lifelong study.
Her website, www.quickanddirtytips.com, was named to Writerís Digestís 2015 101 Best Websites for Writers, and her
podcast has won numerous awards including The
Telegraphís 2014 Best Arts, Books, and Entertainment Podcasts as well as
iTunesís 2013 Best Classic Podcast. Grammar Girl has been featured on The Oprah
Winfrey Show and in The New York Times,
USA Today, BusinessWeek, CNN.com, Readerís Digest, The Washington Post, and The
Wall Street Journal.
Grammar Girl provides short, friendly tips to improve your
writing. She strives to be a friendly guide in the writing world. Her archenemy
is the evil Grammar Maven, who inspires terror in the untrained and is neither friendly
In this interview with Sidebar,
Fogarty talks about her trailblazing podcast and grammar trends today.
Signature: How did you get the idea
for Grammar Girl?
Fogarty: It started as a hobby. As a
freelance editor, I noticed that my clients were making the same grammar
mistakes over and over. I love new technology, and in 2007, I started
experimenting with podcasting. I thought, "Maybe there are some people who
would appreciate a grammar tip each week.Ē Six weeks after launching the podcast,
it was #2 on iTunes podcast list. It was crazy and amazing. I thought, "This
canít last,Ē but it did. Within in six months, I signed a book deal. It took
over my life.
Signature: What is your grammar pet
Fogarty: Today, people make assumptions
about whatís right and wrong ó when they are, in fact, wrong. People learn
something wrong, and then they correct other people with grammatical
Has the rising popularity of social media
affected our grammar?
studies from Andrea Lunsford at Stanford have shown that our grammar has not
gotten worse over the years, although the types of errors have changed.
News organizations have laid off copy editors, and nimble
website organizations donít have as many editors. So I donít think our skills
are declining, but the number of grammar experts employed in the publishing
field is declining.
Signature: Is it hard not to correct
peopleís grammar when they are talking to you?
Fogarty: I never correct people.
Itís rude, and itís an affront. Plus, it would embarrass people, and that would
make them unlikely to embrace your correction anyway.
Itís better to model good speaking and writing and hope that
people are in the right mindset to notice.
Donít miss Mignon Fogartyís presentation on Tuesday, June 16,
2015, 9:00 a.m., at the Association Media & Publishing Annual Meeting. Make plans to join us today!
Carla Kalogeridis is editorial director of Association Media & Publishing.