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.
Should You Use AdSense on Your Blog?
I admit it. I have waffled on this topic a few times. Back in the day I used to call it Ad Cents. But going forward I do see benefits in adding Google AdSense as a low ticket income stream on your blog. Even for newbies. I know, I know. This seems surprising to you.
Think abundance guys. Why not add a few cents here and there to boost your income stream? Please don’t use AdSense as your prime means of income as a new blogger or if you are struggling as a blogging veteran. Cents do not make up a full-time income, as your sole income stream. But if you create courses, coach, and add Google AdSense as an income stream for driving a few bucks each month in the beginning, you are well on your way to seeing steady profits are the channel.
The key is to think detachment. New bloggers in many developing nations see Google AdSense as the Holy Grail of monetizing. Why? Mostly, because it seems easy to make money through a channel involving no creation or human interaction on your part. Think about it. All you do is post the ad and create content. Money should flow to you easily, right? The ultimate wake up call is experiencing one, two, or three cent AdSense months. Then you realize big earnings flow through blogs with a huge amount of targeted, hyper-focused traffic. This is why you need to detach from Google AdSense as your prime income stream. Big bucks flow through the channel after years of generous, patient, persistent effort on your part.
Take the Cents with AdSense
As a newbie, pennies will flow through your AdSense profits for your first few months. In most cases. But take the cents because cents add up to dollars. Dollars add up to hundreds of dollars. Hundreds of dollars add up to thousands of dollars. Think like an abundant blogger. Keep adding small ticket and big ticket income streams to boost your overall blogging income.
Everything Adds Up
I wrote a post recently discussing why wealthy bloggers take the time and effort to add affiliate links even if they earn pennies on the link. Between their ever-expanding presence and abundance mindset, the pennies add up to thousands and even tens of thousands of dollars over the long haul. Think this way with AdSense. Everything adds up. Again, just don’t make Google AdSense your prime income stream because as the pennies add up you’re better off earning more money through channels like coaching, consulting, freelancing, writing and selling eBooks or creating and publishing courses.
Ultimately, successful blogging is creating and connecting generously. Never believe that an income stream makes money. Income streams are passive, completely subject to your command, and pretty much worthless on their own. An income stream cannot do anything, including make money. You make the money with your generous effort. Practice writing, create helpful content and build meaningful connections with top blogger generously every single day over the course of years. No matter the income streams you open, your blogging profits will increase over time if you stick to the fundamentals.
Do you need a blogging guide? Buy my eBook:
Why Do People Still Sleep on Blog Commenting?
Chapters 2 and 3 of my eBook:
dissect both my commenting success stories and why to comment on blogs from your niche. I lead in with a clear primer prepping you for the blogging journey, commenting-wise.
Why do bloggers still ignore the immense power of commenting? A few reasons reveal themselves but at the core, bloggers fear nobody will read their blog comments. Seriously; do you genuinely believe folks read all blog comments? Of course not because folks sometimes skip over comments. But a percentage of bloggers and readers do scan comments or take apart comments word by word, getting to know fellow bloggers. At the core though, fear rings strong, guys. Bloggers fear wasting time. I get it. I too have to catch myself, to remind myself of these sweet blog commenting benefits.
Benefits of Blog Commenting
- bond with top bloggers through an underused vehicle, often ignored, but totally free of gatekeepers, unlike trying to reach someone through email or phone
- anybody can comment on a blog; new blogger, struggling veteran blogger, etc
- anybody can impress with comments at any stage of your career; any human being can share their thoughts in genuine fashion
- blog comments are forever; evergreen content
- blog comments serve as branding and bonding vehicles
- blog commenting is a free method for connecting with bloggers
- blog commenting on blogs with raving communities ejects you into the blogger’s tribe
- people who buy your stuff often need to see you are legit, active and social online; enter blog commenting
Those are but a few reasons why you want to comment on top blogs from your niche. Do your best to dwell on these reasons if you want to mail it in, skipping on blog commenting because you feel like commenting on a top blog wastes your time.
I just find it weird that years into me discussing blog commenting as a viable means to bond and grow business, bloggers scoff at it. I do have an idea why, though. Bloggers focus on things over people. Bloggers want links and do not put in the time and energy to develop connections with other human beings. Put in the time, and you will be golden. But if you want to deal with things to manipulate people you will have a terrible time getting traction online because business may flow through things, but business originates in humans. Think that one through for just a moment.
Commenting works if you comment genuinely on blogs from your niche. Nobody likes someone who wants to publish a link, and to leave. We call these guys comment drive-bys. Stick around. Write a few sentences. Be genuine. Be helpful. Be warm. The more you give to blog commenting, the more you get from blog commenting. Do you see how it works? The process is quite simple but you need to be onboard, fully, to be a generous, genuine blog commentor.
Be present. Imagine yourself speaking to another human being, in person. How should that feel? Good, methinks. Bask in that feeling as you publish a few sentences or paragraphs via a blog comment. Feel the fun in connecting with humans. Blogging is 100% in the connections. Never forget that.
Clients, customers, business and traffic find you through genuine, generous, frequent comments. I am living proof. Peep my example if you want to comment but believe commenting will be a waste of your time. Trust me; it won’t.
4 Ways to Respond to Blogging Critics
We all have ’em.
Or, if new to blogging, critics will pay you a visit eventually. Being seen online means being criticized sometimes. Part of your successful blogging tax.
Fools waste precious time and energy engaging critics in some way, shape or form. Avoid doing this. Paying, loyal, loving fans deserve your energy. Go to where you are loved.
Follow these 4 tips to respond to blogging critics effectively.
1: Ignore Critics Completely
If I come across a nasty 1 star review of my eBooks, I ignore the barb completely because miserable, angry, unhappy people cannot think clearly and tell the truth. Why trust a raging, mindless, idiotic bull? Ignore these people. Buy my critics eBook too to begin spotting these fools.
2: Listen for a Shred of Stinging Truth
OK guys; following this step feels uncomfortable but you need take the step to become a successful blogger. Listen closely to critic feedback. How does it feel to you? Upsetting? Embarrassing? Does a critic anger you or annoy you? Do you want to debate or debunk those morons? If any negative emotion feels triggered by receiving criticism you believe some or all of their critical feedback. I did tell you; this step/tip feels unpleasant. But how could you ever sell a bunch of eBooks and help people and make money if you genuinely do NOT believe in the value of your eBooks? How can you become a pro blogger if you believe you will always be amateur hour?
Critics trigger false beliefs you need face, feel and release to reach the next stage of your blogging growth. I never had powerful break throughs until a critic tossed some nasty barb my way, triggering some fear I needed to release to gain enough clarity and confidence to reach the next stage of my growth.
3: Psyche Homework
Critics see you as a mirror. What criticism seems doled out to you, on to you, is a critic speaking of themselves. We are connected; all of us. Critics never seem to see this and choose to speak of self via their criticism of you. Do your mindset homework. See how criticism serves as a projection of individual onto you? Relax. Prep yourself for future criticism. Consider writing blog posts discussing problems critics see in self if this topic applies to your blogging niche. Turn criticism into help and profits, too.
4: Never Gang Up
Ganging up on critics with your friends only shows your weakness. Critics fear. Critics are in pain. Imagine taking time to rile the troops and kick a wounded dog? This is what it’s like to get your tribe rounded up to gang up on and belittle critics. Plus, try getting featured on world famous blogs by building a bully image these days. I dare you.
Relax. Critics have issues. Ignore these folks outright. Leave them be, and you will be happier, healthier and wealthier, too. Never waste your time fighting critics; especially with friends. Do something uplifting and enriching with your time, energy and efforts.
Help people. Do not try to hurt, hurt people. Give your attention and energy to love, generosity, abundance and service to experience the greatest blogging success.
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