Grammar vs Content

Subject: Grammar vs Content
From: Marilynne Smith <m -dot- smith182 -at- GENIE -dot- GEIS -dot- COM>
Date: Sat, 28 Jan 1995 21:56:00 UTC

>> They place grammar ahead of content.

I call it painting garbage cans. It looks pretty, but inside it's still
garbage. Unless you have written good content, good grammar can't save your
writing. (Unless you have done such a nice job of the grammar that the
content has become good as well.)

I think the reason reviewers mark the grammar, spelling, and format is
because they see it. Perhaps they can do it quickly. To really get down
and do some hard thinking about whether the topic is covered correctly and
completely may require energy and time they're not willing to spend.

You might try introducing the concept of levels of edit at your workplace.
STC has a booklet on the topic. Basically, it divides edits into 3 or more
levels. The first edit level is for content. It asks "Am I on the right
track." The second edit level is again for content, but also for
organization and presentation. It asks "Am I presenting the right amount of
information in the correct way?" The third edit level is for grammar,
style, format, punctuation, etc. By this edit the content should be
complete and presented well. Now is the time to do the polish.

I took this from memory. There will be some refining of the information as
the topic goes along.

Marilynne
m -dot- smith182 -at- genie -dot- geis -dot- com


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