6 Grammar Rules Worth Breaking on Your Blog

When it comes to grammar, I can be a real rules girl. Though I am by no means immune to errors, I love being a stickler for proper usage and spelling. If you come from a background in writing, editing, journalism or English studies, you're probably the same way. I've written more than once on IFB about easy tips and common errors when it comes to bloggers and grammar, but I'm about to change my tune — a little.

As we all know, there are some rules that are meant to be broken; like wearing white after labor day and mixing navy and black. Blogging is a conversational platform, where building relationships and creating a friendly dialog is important. In that way, we can really benefit from writing how we talk. As much as we might resist it at first, that means breaking some grammar rules.

Incorporate slang.

We all use slang in our daily conversations, which means it will probably translate well with your blog readers. Does this mean showering your posts with “YOLO” and “totes amaze” every other paragraph? Of course not, but don't be afraid to embrace the fun and funny terminology that gives flavor and humor to Internet writing.

Embrace contractions.

This one might seem obvious, but contractions are one of the simplest ways to give your writing a conversational feel. It's more than just negatives like can't, didn't and don't, there are shortenings like “you are” to you're and “we have” to we've.

Use fragments.

In English class you could hardly get away with this one – but blogging is a great place to embrace the use of fragments and partial sentences to add drama and personality to your writing. Seriously.

Play with made up words.

I read once that the mark of a truly great writer is the ability to make up new words and bring them into use. It's believed that Dr. Seuss was one of the first people to use the word “nerd,” in a published work (If I Ran The Zoo) the 1950s. Do you have a better word than fashionista or hey, even blogger? Try it out!

3-sentence paragraphs

Starting in elementary school, we've been taught that a full paragraph has at least three sentences, usually no more than five. That rule is so tired.

Try breaking up your stylish thoughts up into punchy bits of text only one or two sentences long. Your readers attention spans are short, so it's best not to bombard them with a huge blob of text seven or eight sentences long if you can avoid it.

Address your audience with the word “you.”

What better way to connect with your audience than referring to them as “you?” We do this all the time on IFB so that you feel like we're invested in each reader personally – which we are. The hope is that as you read the post, it's apparent that we want to relate, help, and speak to bloggers as individual people.


The folks at Grammarly have a pretty fun and silly take on grammar as well, from their Facebook page:

What grammar rules do you break on your blog?

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9 Responses

  1. Simona M.

    I think always addressing readers with ‘you’ is a perfect way to make them feel important such that they can relate to us, bloggers. Also probable for non-native English speakers is harder to make up words that really mean something. Good tips nonetheless.


  2. Jenni

    I think you mean contractions. To quote a great grammarian, conjunctions’ function is “hooking up words and phrases and clauses” with words like “and, but, and or. They’ll get you pretty far.”

  3. Mark Alexander

    Couldn’t agree more. Blogging is the greatest excuse to get creative with your writing and break a few rules. Short paragraphs and sentences are best when writing for web (think about your readers’ eyes as well as their attention span).

  4. Nadya Helena

    Great advice. It’s important to write in good English so people would see us as professionals who take blogging seriously, but it’s also important to loosen up, so people can relate to us better. After all, people love to communicate with human, not some perfectly grammatized robots.


  5. Allison

    Thanks for these tips Taylor. I always follow the 3 sentence paragraph format. I can’t stand reading blog posts that have long blocks of text. And a journalism major I was taught to write in short paragraphs. I think if you take great photographs they do most of the talking anyway!


  6. Katie Cadamatre

    I felt relieved reading this. I’m super self-conscious about my (poor) writing. I’m pumped that using fragments is a-ok. Woo!

  7. Alyssa Tomasic

    That was funny. However, I disagree with some of the Grammarly tips. I love quotes if they are good and relevant quotes. I do agree with #14, profanity is terrible. I think it translates bad and unprofessional on a blog.

    I have a new post up that quotes a song!


  8. Lydia

    I’ve never actually given much thought to the writing on my blog…I’m rethinking that now. Thanks for the post!