Did you say writing is easy?
The grammar police will know that this post’s title and first line contain a clumsy error.
I used it because I see this phrase often online.
It highlights how easy it is for an author or writer to type a bio on Twitter or Facebook too quickly and, in the process, affect their reputation.
It doesn’t agree
Who said writing is easy? What’s the problem with the question?
It is a tense agreement issue.
Without going into this too deeply, the first verb is in the past, and the second is in the present.
To highlight the error more clearly, I’ll change the phrase from a rhetorical question to a simple active phrase with two verbs.
Tom went to London and visits the Queen. Incorrect.
Tom went to London and visited the Queen. Correct.
Tom goes to London and visits the Queen. Correct.
In the last two examples, both verbs agree and occur in the past or present.
With simple sentences, it’s easy to fix the problem.
But with more complex sentences, it’s sometimes not so easy to spot.
The question in my post title
It is complex because it uses a reported speech verb and the question adverb as the subject.
But I can use the same verb agreement pattern.
Who said writing was easy? This agrees and is now correct.
However, depending on what you intend by the question, you could also write it this way.
Who was it who said writing is easy?
Now it asks directly for the quote’s author, with ‘who’ being the subject.
The answer would be this.
Writing is easy, Tom famously said.
Tom is the subject, and his famous quote can stay, as it was said, in the Present Simple.
Without digging any deeper into grammar, my point in writing this post is that all writers make minor grammatical errors.
In a book of 80,000 words, it is next to impossible not to have a few.
This is when having a second pair of eyes is so vital.
You might have an editor, sub-editor, proofreader, or at least a friend or acquaintance with some grammatical knowledge.
But you need to check a text thoroughly and more than once.
Another fact is that there are often different interpretations of some grammar and punctuation points.
This often depends on which style guide you might use as your reference.
I’m sure you are fastidious when checking the text of a manuscript.
But just as vital, and perhaps even more so, are a few quick sentences you might post on social media for the whole world to see and read.
Another is possible errors in an author bio.
Few potential readers would consider glancing at a book written by an author who couldn’t write a grammatically correct short bio.
Don’t ruin your first chance to impress a reader by being clumsy.
Check and double-check everything you write before posting it for the world to read.
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