Are you a blogger? Have an online writing business? Use your website to promote your writing, your ideas, or your brand? If so, then you've probably already received an email commenting on your grammar, typing style, or pointing out a website coding issue.
Many writers and creatives type fast.
The ideas come to them quickly and they get them out just as quickly, if not quicker.
Once your website starts to receive some level of viewership, let's talk 8,000 pageviews a month or more, it's normal to also start receiving emails from readers and new potential clients, given you have that avenue set up.
Some of these emails will be from penpal hopefuls, others will be from potential new colleagues, and others still will fall in the category of what I like to call error emails. People emailing to point out something gone wrong.
Some of these emails can be a godsend, others, seem to just be an opportunity to criticize, but most critical emails that online writers get are re: their grammar.
Meeting The Grammar Police
Yes, the Grammar Police. They exist.
And while grammar is subjective, if you're doing any sort of writing online, at some point you're going to encounter someone who has something to say about it.
It's just like if you were driving a car on roads where police could be.
Some roads are more rural and there are fewer police on them than others, but other roads are more mainstream, and they're loaded with the type of people who may want to reach out and correct you.
Driving your work home on the worldwide web?
While when your words travel the interspace web, be assured at some point they're going to encounter an unofficial, yet firmly united, police force hailing from the world of grammar.
So when the grammar police arrive to email you, there are generally two types of emails they'll send, if they send any at all, which like I said above, if you're driving on the roads of the internet, where people are and do read your work, at some point, you're going to get a citation. Like I said, it's unregulated, and completely unofficial, but it's normal.
So yes, it is normal to receive feedback criticizing you for your errors, because research shows all people have a drive to be right and if people are reading your work, at some point, there's going to be someone who wants to respond to it.
People both want to help, and they also want to be right, and their communications will reflect that in the types of emails you receive. This goes for when someone wants to point out your errors, too.
Over all, there are two main forms of communication, competitive and cooperative, and each type of email you receive will reflect this, including those from the united task force of grammar police.
So, yes it's normal for people to comment on your errors, and now that we have that wrapped around, it doesn't matter how little or how much or how many or how few typos you have, the Grammar Police will generally send out two types of emails:
The two types of error emails
Helpful Emails vs. Globally Critical Emails
Helpful emails are typically received from loyal readers helping to point you to exact issues you'd have no idea of otherwise. Like this one:
I love your blog! I was reading on XYZ page which I'm linking HERE, to let you know I found a terrible typo you probably didn't know about but I just wanted to help. In case you already know, I apologize and all the best! Just trying to be a good friend!
These types of emails while embarrassing, are good.
They mean your readers have your back and support you. Senders of these type emails understand that everyone makes mistakes and that website editors go haywire, unbeknownst to you and they want to help. I generally say thank you and make the correction, if there is one to make, when I get emails like this.
Other emails seem to be little more than an easy jab, global criticism from a stranger, or a hidden sales pitch. Like this one:
I'm writing to let you know that I'm a professional editor for xyz firm and your writing, I just have to say is terrible! It's full of errors and commas and God knows what else. You shouldn't even be writing online with type like this. You should consider an editor, and lucky for you, I am one.
Above... as you can see in the "Globally Critical" email sample, no direct blog or article or offending post is mentioned, so the advice is mostly useless. What are you to do with it! There's no direction. Just all is terrible, goodbye.
This person either wanted to be right ...or a job from you ...or to just to get some negativity off their chest. Most likely all three combined and especially, the latter. In my article, Blog Reader Criticism: How To Handle It and What To Do, I talk more on how to deal with this, the latter I mean.
Get a formal editing service
You can hook up a Grammar editor to your browser (I like Grammarly's Chrome Extension), and go back through your old posts, piece by piece, one or two a week updating older articles of yours with newer content while you scan for minor typos. It's a great spring cleaning activity, think of it that way. This is the main way to minimize emails like this.
Like I said, though -
Errors do get in there and they do sneak up on you. It doesn't matter how good you are.
It doesn't matter how many times you edit, how many times you run through it, there's always a typo or two left behind. It's like sweeping. Always one or two pieces of dust that didn't quite make the bin. It could be a website glitch or a server update, or a flip of a key when hitting publish and there it is. The error. Through no fault of your own, it arrives.
However, you can catch most of them with a more formalized approach.
I've found that going through posts with a technical non-human eye Grammar Service, like Grammarly (this is the one I like and prefer over the other servers out there), is one of the most effective services in dramatically reducing both the number of typos you have in your posts, and the number of emails that you get because of them.
Now that we're gone through the technical solution, let's talk about:
emotionally Coping with the feedback
Whatever you do, though, don't let emails get you down!
Some people are line readers and genuinely do have a hard time reading content with small comma misplacements, where other people, like most writers are, read for content and thus, they aren't bothered by a wayward double pronoun.
I can understand why some people would want to put an end to grammar errors, either real or not. It makes their life easier and the lives of others like them, also easier. So I empathize. However, if you're on the receiving end of emails like this, they can be hard to cope with at first, but the more of them you receive the more easily you can hit the delete key when one comes in from a Susan Somebody just swoops in to seemingly stomp all over your good mood. She just needed to get that negativity out and you just so happened to be the easiest, closest to reach target. But now it's time for you to get it out!
To end, remember: having people commenting on your errors a good sign because it means people are reading your work. Hat tip, to you.
But because I, like many writers, am a sensitive soul and want to limit the amount of incoming feedback I receive that's adverse, I use Grammarly's Premium Edition to go through all my old posts, scan current posts, and check emails.
It's by far cut down on the types of the emails I receive like this and I once told my partner it's the reason I sleep at night. I meant that.
The way that Quicken and Quickbooks are for business accounting and accountants, Grammar Services, like Grammarly, is for writing and writers.
And while I know other online writers recommend other tools, I've had the most success with this server and I loved it so much, I even went so far to upgrade from their free to the premium version. Unlike other Grammar services, Grammarly plugs into your email templates and it'll edit your emails as you go, too - a feature many of the other providers don't have! And man is that something I love. An email checker, to boot. That way, when you're emailing Susan Somebody back about how you don't appreciate her comments, you can make sure that that too, goes off without a hitch. Just kidding, don't do that. Don't engage the dragon.
But do take care of future risks. And make sure to edit your posts!
Amanda Linette Meder
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This post includes affiliate links. To learn more about Grammarly.com, or to upgrade to their premium edition click here.