Today a close family member advised by text message that her messages to me several days ago contained punctuation and capitalization errors. She expressed surprise that I didn’t respond in any way to her mistakes.
It never occurred to me that my appreciation for correct grammar, punctuation and usage entitled me to correct any and all people around me. She’s read my books and other work and because she knows that my craft is creating written handiwork, she expected me to wave my magic writer wand over her.
The statement was quite an eye-opener. Are some of my friends and family members reluctant to communicate with me, anticipating that I am observing their adherence (or lack thereof) to rules of grammar, etc.? Somehow, I believe that many simply do not care. But it suddenly made me wonder if others expect me to make corrections, if only in my mind.
Allow me to go on record that I am not anyone’s English teacher (except when I am in the classroom). Yes, I will continue to notice misspelled words, incorrect punctuation or subject/verb disagreements. But it’s not a contest or evaluation. Clients rely on me to be consistent and I can’t imagine turning my awareness on and off, depending on the communicator or context.
What you say is always more important than how you say it. Be certain that I care much more about content than presentation unless I am wearing my editor hat. You may also be confident that I am always grateful for your verbal visits. Shalom.