Guest post time!
Hi, everyone, I'm Ancy, Aimee J.'s friendly neighborhood proofreader! I'm the one who tries to find all of Aimee's grammar and spelling mistakes before they make it to the web (easier said than done…hehe).
Today is more than a discussion about proper grammar. It's about how to use words and punctuation correctly for an increasingly casual population. We're connected to everyone via social media outlets so it sometimes seems strange using proper grammar. The thing is using good grammar doesn't make you look like a snob; it makes you look like you know what you're talking about and helps get your message across to a wider range of people.
Point in case – I am looking for a full time job, but I turn my nose up at job descriptions where there are misspellings or grammar issues. May I be missing a chance at a great job? Perhaps. However, egregious spelling and grammar mistakes irk some people and will more than likely turn them off to what you have to say. Don't be that person who doesn't proofread. Strict grammar rules should be observed if you're working on a school/college paper (for ANY subject); a work presentation, email, or correspondence (even if you know everyone); or any other correspondence where you may not know your audience.
So what about “normal” writing? The best thing about grammar is that it's flexible and adaptable to changing social norms. When I was in school, I would have always used a comma to separate items in a list, including a comma before the conjunction and final item (e.g., eggs, toast[,] and butter). Nowadays, it's not common or necessary (eggs, toast[x] and butter). Same thing goes with leaving prepositions at the end of a sentence (“I know what I'm talking about”) and splitting infinitives (to boldly go vs. to go boldly). Formal grammar often doesn't work in regular conversation and the rules agree.
Right about now I would give you a list of the top 5 things you should or shouldn't do regarding grammar rules, but there's a plethora of information from people who do this sort of thing for a living! Below are my favorite links for both formal and regular writing help.
Just remember – as long as you proofread your writing (even a quick once over) and remember a few basic rules, your writing will be heard =)
You Ought to Know: Spelling & Grammar are your friends