Suffering from impotence, a man visits serveral doctors asking for help. All to no avail. Finally, out of desperation, he visits a witch-doctor. The witch-doctor gives him a potion that can only be used once a year and tells him to take it before he is ready to be intimate. Then, when the time is right he should say “1, 2, 3” and his impotence will be cured for as long as he likes.
The man asks, “How do I make the potion stop working?”
“Oh, that’s easy,” the doctor replies, “You just say, “1, 2, 3, 4.”
That evening before he enters the house, the man drinks the potion. He surprises his wife by immediately leading her to the bedroom. Things are going well and the man whispers, “1, 2, 3.”
His wife gives him a funny look and asks, “What’d you say 1, 2, 3 for?”
And that is why you never end a sentence with a preposition!
Oh grammar, why must you be so funny? Okay, so it isn’t really funny or fun, but it is important. As promised, I will do my very best to make a very droll subject interesting. Grammar is one of those things that, when not done correctly, can make you look really stupid really fast. The careless use of “I could care less” can cause someone to start ignoring you faster than you can say “irregardless.”
The most important thing to remember – before you scroll past this post – is that all of the rules I’m sharing with you today apply to you. Even if you are not a blogger, following these basic rules will make you sound smarter regardless of your audience. Correct grammar is key if you want to be taken seriously in any venue. Breaking the rules can be fun and all, but you have to know them first.
Since the World Series is just a couple of weeks away, I decided the magic number for this post would be nine. So here are nine grammar rules that are often broken.
The best way to figure out if you should be using who or whom in a sentence is to reword it. You can use the pronoun to determine the correct word. Here is an example:
Who/Whom is the best blogger ever?
He/Him is the best blogger ever.
Recite the second sentence (either aloud or in your head – whichever makes you feel less nerdy (Let’s face it, as bloggers our nerd quotients are probably high enough already) and decide which pronoun is correct. Are you done? Did you say “He” is the correct answer? Good. You’re right. And since we’d use “He” we know that the correct possessive is “Who.” You can use this replacement trick without fail and you’ll never misuse who/whom again.
Do you know this one? If you do that’s great, but you might be surprised how many people get this wrong. Let’s say I wanted to tell my coworker (via email, of course) that her hat really goes well with her shirt. I would write:
“Your hat really complements your shirt.”
If I wrote that her hat “compliments” her shirt then I would be saying that her hat paid her shirt a compliment, not that it was a good pairing. I have a mnemonic device that I use for this: “I complIment you. My E-ring complements my necklace.” Yup, it’s lame, but it works.
People are constantly messing this one up. The grammatically correct way to use “however” is at the beginning of a sentence, followed by a comma. Need a mnemonic? “However has a cap and a comma.” “Cap” being the capital letter at the start of the sentence. Repeat this a few times a day for a week or so and it will be forever stuck in your brain, I promise.
4. Split Infinitives
You’ve heard this term, but do you know what it means? It is actually very simple: an infinitive is simply a verb with the word “to” preceding it: to run, to write, to dance. The key is to keep the “to” and the verb together and not separate them by other words. The most likely offenders in a split infinitive are adverbs: to quickly run, to calmly write, to slowly dance. The correct way is to keep the infinitive together and follow it with the adverb: to run quickly, to write calmly, to dance slowly.
5. Lie, Lay, Lain, Laid, Lying
For such short little words, “lie” and “lay” can really cause big problems. You lie down on a bed. You lay a CD on the passenger seat. In an example from her book Painless Grammar, Rebecca Elliott, offers up this handy example:
“Today I lie in bed.
Yesterday I lay in bed.
Many times I have lain in bed.
Yesterday I was lying in bed all day.”
“Today I lay the book on the counter.
Yesterday I laid the book on the counter.
Many times I have laid the book on the counter.
Yesterday I was laying the book on the counter when Mom came home.”
The rule (and the joke) says that you should never end a sentence with a preposition. However, this is one of those rules that can be broken in some instances. The problem is, when you rearrange a sentence to make sure it doesn’t end with a preposition, it often comes out awkward. Let’s say I write, “This is the class for which I registered.” Grammatically, that is totally correct. Too bad it sounds weird and stuffy, especially if I am writing dialogue. So I write: “This is the class I registered for.” Half the English language snobs gasp and the other half shrug, realizing that sometimes you just gotta go with what sounds right.
7.1. When to Use Commas
At times, I tend to go a bit comma crazy. Some people suffer from the exact opposite disorder, making their way through entire paragraphs without a comma to be found. Having a handy list of instances for using commas helps me curb my obsession:
- Before a coordinating conjunction (and, but, for, or, so, yet) that introduces an independ clause (a clause that can stand alone as a complete sentence)
- After conjunctive adverbs (however, finally, furthermore, indeed, meanwhile, nevertheless, therefore, unfortunately)
- After most introductory phrases and clauses (the part of a sentence preceding the subject and verb is usually an introductory phrase)
- To emphasize an adverb
- When adjectives come after the noun
- In lists
- With cities and states, addresses and dates
- In numbers > 999
- With direct quotations
(I typed, quickly, to meet my deadline)
Are you asleep yet? Perhaps it’s time for a seventh inning stretch. Here’s another grammar joke: How is a cat like a comma? I will get back to that at the end of the article. For now, let’s move on to the last two and a half rules.
7.2. Commas Continued…
Here are some more occassions to use commas:
- When speaking directly to someone
- Before and/or after an interjection, a parenthetical expression or a title after a person’s name
- Between consecutive adjectives (This morning was a rainy start to a soggy, gray, cloudy, dark day.)
- Before and/or after some Latin abbreviations (I love blogging, writing, reading, etc.)
- After greetings and before closings – in friendly letters
- Before and after appositives (Our supervisor, John Doe, is a poor manager.)
- To indicate omitted words (“Saturday I went out for lunch; Sunday, dinner.”)
8. Always Use Complete Sentences?
This is a fun rule to break. So fun! Before I tell you when it is okay to break it, I will first define it. A complete sentence has a subject and a verb: “I write.” Easy enough. Generally, it is a good idea to follow this rule. Some fragments for style can be acceptable, but this can easily get too “cute” and your readers will get annoyed. Here are three instances where you can use fragments:
- When used for emphasis: “I thought my grades would be great, but when I got my report card I had Fs. Three Fs!”
- When used for informal dialogue: “Gonna see a movie?” “Sure.” “At ten?” “Nah. Too late. Seven?” “Okay.”
- When used for exclamations and interjections: “Wow!” “Ouch!” “Hell, Yeah!”
9. Cut the Crap
When we are speaking, an extra “a” or “of” here and there does not make a conversation awkward. However, when you are writing, be sure you take the time to cut out extra words. You want to use the words you need and ditch the rest. A good example of this is when someone writes: “He sat down on the chair.” When you sit, you are nearly always sitting down. It is safe to cut that word. “He sat on the chair.” Always use the least amount of words you can get away with. As a blogger, you are generally not writing to word count or page inches. This gives you the freedom to be as brief as you want to be. You might find reading aloud to be useful in helping you weed out the extras.
With that, I will leave you to your own devices. But before I go, I know you’re dying to know the punchline to the cat joke, so here it is: A cat has claws at the end of its paws and a comma is a pause at the end of a clause. That is without a doubt the nerdiest joke I have ever heard – and I work in IT!
I am a strong advocate for breaking rules in most situations. However, as far as grammar goes, the best plan is to buy a grammar guide so you are prepared. Then, when you’re in doubt, look it up. The thirty seconds you spend checking for accuracy could save you many readers and much respect.
Stop Complaining and Turn it into a Blog Post
I spent the prior 10 seconds scrolling through my Instagram comments.
After reading a “This looks good” comment in response to a grainy video – obvious spam, intended for an eye-popping image – I chose to create a video and write this post. 2 pieces of blog content. Versus minutes of silly complaining.
Being human, I may feel slightly annoyed after reading my 5th spam comment in a row, this morning. But after a quick vent, I create helpful content, to teach bloggers what not to do, in order to succeed online.
Check out this eBook:
I wrote the eBook to address a pressing problem among bloggers. We all have a right to vent for a bit but sustained complaining:
- wastes your creative energies
- sullies your brand image
- damages your online reputation
I wrote the eBook to help you turn your complaints, sometimes in the form of rough blogging criticism, into blogging profits. Converting a complaint into content is 1 easy way to prosper in such fashion.
Help yourself. Help your readers.
Watch this short Instagram video:
I gained a few quick views on Instagram. Benefits me. I promoted my eBook at the end of the video, offering myself eBook exposure. I help my readers by showing them what works on Instagram; being genuine, being honest and being authentic. I also explain what not to do, to help folks avoid wasting their time with spammy, low quality, non genuine comments.
I turned a potential complaint into a creation. I converted a low energy situation into a high energy situation. I likely gained blog traffic and maybe boost my blogging profits, too.
I also align with grateful, high energy bloggers like Sue-Ann Bubacz Mapping Megan and Mike Allton by raising my energy. Complaining routinely moves you lower in blogging circles. Being grateful, creative and helpful moves you higher in blogging circles.
The next time you feel an urge to complain about something, turn the complaint into a creation.
- write a blog post
- write a guest post
- record a podcast
- record a video
- broadcast live on Facebook
- write a bite-sized eBook
Your readers will thank you. Plus, you will thank yourself.
We know complaints can sprout from all corners of the web. Here are common occurrences which tend to trigger complaints:
- spam comments on your blog
- spam comments on social media
- spam emails
- spam social media messages
- bloggers pitching you their products and services without building relationships first
- cheapie bloggers or business owners who want to place sponsored posts on your blog for 5 or 10 USD
- unhappy, unclear folks who post terrible reviews on your eBooks based on their misery
I recall the last bullet point experience goaded me to write my eBook. A few listeners of my audio books and eBook readers posted sarcastic, biting reviews of both audio books and eBooks I self-published. Rather than complain or whine about the feedback I saw the criticism for what it was; the projection of an unhappy person who spoke 100% about self and 0% about me. All of my creations are clearly me, and what I did to co-create this life of island hopping through smart blogging. If anybody is insane enough to post a negative review on my clear, genuine creations, it is like saying:
“Hey Ryan, I was there every step of the way, watching you in paradise, stalking you behind your laptop, and you did a terrible job sharing your real experience!”
The only person on earth who could post a somewhat honest review is my wife Kelli; even she was not in my head or watching every one of my steps as I co-created this life with my readers. She was too busy building her own thriving business. No human was there to record everything, save me, and since I share it all in a genuine, clear way, any negative reviewer is deluded, and somewhat insane.
Few bloggers have this clarity or authenticity in what they do because they either are filled with fear and doubt, or hold back what they know. I have no such problems.
These are a few potential triggers, guys. I share to alert you to potential rants or sustained complaints before the negative energy seems to run away with your attention for a few minutes, hours or days.
Vent wholly, quickly and completely. Then convert the complaint into blog content. Everybody wins. Even the spammer.
What Is the Mushroom Service Effect and How Does it Increases Profits?
Service leads to sales.
Every eBook I sell is the effect of a service cause. Many of my eBook customers received my direct help. Maybe I commented genuinely on their blog. Perhaps I mentioned them on my blog or on Blogging Tips. Maybe I retweeted their post. Or maybe I helped these people for weeks or months without asking for anything in return.
Some of these bloggers purchase my eBooks. I see increased blogging profits. Some promote my eBooks to their readers, leading to increased blogging profits. Some of those readers promote the eBook to their readers; can you see the mushroom service effect in action? I keep helping people in various ways, expect nothing, and my generous service reverberates, mushrooming into increased sales.
What happens as I help more folks by creating content and by promoting fellow bloggers? More bloggers promote me, link to me, boost my backlink juice, and Blogging From Paradise becomes more prominent on Google. Search engine traffic increases my blogging profits. More mushrooming.
You never go wrong helping people generously because every creative act prospers you and others, now, next week or 3 years down the road.
My friend Alonzo Pichardo helps people generously and gives little thought to content once he publishes posts, videos and podcasts. He lets the content do what it does. His profits keep increasing but even more than that, he keeps moving higher and higher in networking circles as his generosity increases his influence. More mushrooming.
Imagine a still pond. Now imagine dropping a tiny pebble into a still pond. Waves reverberate as far as the water reaches. 10 inches, or 10,000 miles, literally, nothing can stop the waves from traveling outward, even if the waves are faint, or are barely detectable, after traveling for a while.
Now imagine dropping 100 tiny pebbles over a few weeks. Wow. You really see waves kicking at that point. Subtle, slow and controlled, but super noticeable.
The pond is your blogging niche. The stillness of the pond is your calm, peaceful, generous, detached intent, your energy, your relaxed mindset. The pebbles are pieces of content, aka, service. Plus, one pebble can represent:
- every time you promote another blogger through a blog post on your blog
- every time you promote another blogger through a guest post
- every time you retweet another blogger
- every time you share another blogger’s post on Facebook
The waves are your influence, your service, and, this is the mushrooming effect leading to greater blogging profits.
Guys; expect nothing. I promote valued blogging resources like the talented, generous and heart-centered Tanyi at Blog Tools Corner to give, not to get. The less I expect anything to happen, the more good things and awesome people flow to me.
Give freely, persistently, receive easily.
Enstine Muki provides you with generous tips to make money online, via his blog. He helps bloggers freely. Of course his blogging profits mushroom through his generous service, increasing through his friend network, through Google and through mentions on my blog, on Blogging Tips and in thousands of other spots.
Keep helping people freely. Expect nothing. Eventually, over time, if you are patient, your traffic and profits begin to mushroom exponentially.
Look at Tim Ferriss’ latest blog post. He is a multi millionaire and one of the most famous entrepreneurs on earth because he serves people generously. Note how many backlinks he gives to other bloggers and entrepreneurs through his latest post; that’s generosity! That’s an abundance mindset in action. Most bloggers feel terrified to give out a single backlink to another blogger for fear of losing profits, wrongly believing people will click on the other blogger’s link and not click on their business links. Tim links out to 20, 30 or 40 people or resources for every blog post.
Any wonder why the dude is so incredibly successful and prospering?
He employs the mushroom service effect like few entrepreneurs on earth.
4 Ways to Become More Detached from Blogging Outcomes
See that throwback featured image of me in Phuket, Thailand?
I became a globe trotting pro blogger in part through the power of detachment.
Blogging outcomes weigh you down and slow your blogging growth, if you are not careful.
Many bloggers mean well but are so obsessed with every view, Like, comment, share and dollar that they either struggle horribly or hold back stunning blogging success. How could I write over 100 eBooks if I obsessed with sales from my first eBook? How could I write 600 posts on Blogging Tips alone if I obsessed over metrics?
Eye-popping success finds largely detached, generous bloggers.
Follow these tips to become more detached from blogging outcomes.
1: Help More Ask Less
If you want blog comments, comment on other blogs.
Want blog traffic? Promote other bloggers.
Help bloggers to detach from your needs and to see greater success. Ask less and less for shares, comments and views, to detach from outcomes. Success finds generous bloggers.
2: Mention 2-5 Successful Bloggers Via All Posts
I recall focusing heavily on blogging profits early during my career. I linked to an ad or affiliate product once per post and linked to nothing else, obsessing over sales, attaching to outcomes. I gradually promoted other bloggers over years. Now I promote 2 to 5 bloggers virtually every post. I think more of helping them and less of helping me.
3: Manage Your Energy
Attachment is fear. Managing your energy helps you:
- face fear
- feel fear
- release fear
- dissolve attachments
I do 80 minutes of deep yin yoga daily. Plus I jog or walk for 45-60 minutes daily. Meditating helps too.
Managing your energy rocks because so many bloggers cling deeply to fear-attachments, to stats and money and to clients and blogging buddies, and need a daily ritual to unearth and release these attachments. I strongly suggest deep yin yoga because it helps you become comfortable. Big time quality developed by all generous, pretty darn detached, bloggers.
4: BE with Your Fear
I vividly recall sitting and BEING with my fear each time I checked my blogging inbox. I felt a general not enough energy pervade my being. Panic then ran through my body. Anger. Pain. Grief, at time lost. All fears reflected heavy attachments to:
- list subscribers
I totally believed I should have been further along at these points during my blogging career. Turns out, I was at the perfect place and time to feel deep fears, to dissolve attachments and to proceed from a generous, genuine, pretty detached, patient and persistent space.
Fighting fear only makes attachments grow. Not checking email for weeks because you feel terrified to check email makes the fear and attachment grow. But checking email hourly because you feel terrified that you:
- will miss out on clients
- are not making enough money, and need to check and see if you are making any aka enough money, yet
reflects your attachment to you. Ya know; “How am I doing-itis.” Check stats, check email, all the time, because you fear to see how you are doing.
Feel fear behind any strategy driven by fear. Let the fear go. Dissolve the attachment.
I check email here and there, never being attached to it. Email is not the source of my blogging success.
Treat blogging outcomes like mile markers on a highway, when you whiz by at 80 MPH. Note the stat for a few seconds and either move in a different direction or charge forward, based on how you feel about the stat, and what the feeling suggests to you.
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