12 fake grammar rules that can make you a lousy fundraiser

About 90% of everything that’s said about grammar is bogus — useless, obtuse, or flat-out inaccurate. And most of it will make your writing (and your life) worse if you follow it.

That’s why I like this post from Arrant Pedantry, an excellent grammar-focused blog: 12 Mistakes Nearly Everyone Who Writes About Grammar Mistakes Makes.

Liberate yourself from useless grammar pedantry we see so often:

  1. Confusing grammar with spelling, punctuation, and usage.
  2. Treating style choices as rules.
  3. Ignoring register.
  4. Saying that a disliked word isn’t a word.
  5. Turning proposals into ironclad laws.
  6. Failing to discuss exceptions to rules.
  7. Overestimating the frequency of errors.
  8. Believing that etymology is destiny.
  9. Simply bungling the rules.
  10. Saying that good grammar leads to good communication.
  11. Using grammar to put people down.
  12. Forgetting that correct usage ultimately comes from users.

#11 is the worst of the lot. It’s a profoundly dysfunctional way to think about the ways we use language. Any fundraiser engaged in that should lose their license!


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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