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BroadVision Marketing Blog

Stop Readers from Leaving Your Business Blogs by Improving Clarity

Posted by Ann Mullen on Mon, Aug 11, 2014 @ 05:56 AM

Guest Post by Ann Mullen  Weird Al Yankovic's video Word Crimes is one of many commentaries in what has become one of this summer’s hottest topics—grammar. Weird Al tells listeners that he'll "try to education ya/Gonna familiarize/You with the nomenclature/You'll learn the definitions/of nouns and prepositions." This article is about prepositions and long prepositional phrases.

Later Weird Al attacks writers using social media, saying "I read your e-mail/It's quite apparent/Your grammar's errant/You're incoherent/Saw your blog post/It's really fantastic/That was sarcastic."

If you write business blogs, this video applies to you. Here's Weird Al's whole rapping rant. 

Google search any grammar topics like “writing clarity,” “grammar,” “sentence clarity,” or “prepositional phrases.” You"ll see that the list is endless. Now check the publish dates. Most are this summer.

BroadVision Marketing joined the business-blog-grammar-topics list with the article Uncommon "Word Crimes" You Don't Want to Make in Your Best Business Blogs {Infographic} and an infographic by Melody McKinnon about long prepositional phrases that appeared as number 6 in a recent BVM article Best Business Blogs Advice Using 9 Instructive Infographics. Both came out this summer.

Why are people rapping or writing business blogs about grammar?

Why do you suppose grammar in business blogs has resurfaced?

  • The common answer is Weird Al’s video.
  • The phenomena also shows we need a grammar refresher course (if we ever had one).
  • It's also possible that articles about grammar in business blogs are a protest against the latest trends in email, Twitter, texting, and other social media.
  • Media appears to have loosened grammar rules to the point of stretching and breaking them.
  • This trend appears in business blogs as well since blogs are the root of business social media.

Weird Al points to social media as the place where writers’ loss of grammar rules are displayed on the web for all to see. Those of us who were taught grammar cringe when we read these mistakes, but we don’t quite have the outlet of a Weird Al. So we blog along with everyone else.

What the kids were really doing under their desks

future business blogger texting in classIn the recent past I substitute taught in many English classes and was appalled at the excellent grades teachers were giving students for poorly written papers.

Teachers accepted poor spelling, poor grammar and ill-conceived ideas under the misguided impression that getting students to communicate at all was better than helping them better their work.

Maybe the teachers missed the texting going on under each desk. The students are communicating.

The place I found grammar taught was in foreign language classes where countless students ceased to be clueless about elementary parts of speech like prepositions, a word Weird Al mentioned.

In case you are confused, here is a definition from the Writing Center of Pasadena City College’s article Prepositions:

Prepositions are difficult to define but, fortunately, not so difficult to understand. They tell the “position” of people or things in relation to where other people or things are located. They can show relationships between objects in space (where one thing is in relation to another), and they can show relationships in time (when an event occurred in relation to another event).

Examples (space relationship):

    • The paper is under the book.
    • My mother walked through the door.

Examples (time relationship):

    • I left the graduation ceremony before the final speech.
    • Jacky felt sick during the plane ride.

It’s not difficult to see we are talking about those perky little words that I found explained in yet another educational article:

Prepositions commonly convey the following relationships: agency (by); comparison (like, as . . . as); direction (to, toward, through); place (at, by, on); possession (of); purpose (for); source (from, out of); and time (at, before, on). 

This definition of prepositions and how to use them is the start of a major problem grammar illiterates stumble ove.r The problem is that business blogs writers use long prepositional phrases that are too wordy. Readers don't like these in articles and leave in droves.

To be too wordy or not to be too wordy? That is the question.

When Melody McKinnon talks about being “too wordy” in in her article Online Writing with Clarity Infographic, one of the problems she encounters is long prepositional phrases. These are phrases that starts with a preposition and ends with noun (or a pronoun).

If you don't know what a preposition is, you won’t see or know how to fix wordy prepositional phrases in a business blog. The infographic Mary shares demonstrates how to improve clarity in writing by recognizing long prepositional phrases and shortening them.

Now that you understand prepositions and wordy prepositional phrases, you are ready to stop your readers from leaving your business blog posts. Here is Mary’s infographic to help you:

writers of business blogs can overcome being too wordy

Were you aware that your business blogs were full of long prepositional phrases? To learn more about creating better business blogs, BroadVision Marketing has a free guide to Business Blogging. Click below to receive yours. Thanks.

Free Business Blogging Guide CTA


Content Marketer Ann Mullen guest blogging about business blogsAnn Mullen has been writing most of her life, some of it even for pay. She wrote as many as three columns a week for a newspaper in South Texas and published short stories in national magazines. She fancies herself a Content Marketer in the making and assists Jaco Grobbelaar at BroadVision Marketing. You can contact her at ann@broadvisionmarketing.com.

Topics: business blogs

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