Who Said Writing Is Easy? It’s Not As Simple As You Think

Who Said Writing Is Easy

Did you say writing is easy?

The grammar police will know that the title and the first line of my post both contain a clumsy error.

The reason I used it is because I noticed it in an author’s bio on Twitter.

It is to highlight how easy it is for an author or writer to quickly type a 160 character or less bio on Twitter, and in the process, ruin their reputation in an instant.

It doesn’t agree

What’s the problem with the question, “Who Said Writing Is Easy?”

It is a tense agreement problem.

Without going into this too deeply, the first verb is in the past, and the second verb 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. Wrong.

Tom went to London and visited the Queen. Correct.

Now both of the actions agree and occur in the past.

Now I’ll correct 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 said, “writing is easy.”

Now it is asking directly for the author of the quote, with ‘who’ being the subject.

The answer would be, “Writing is easy,” Tom famously said.

Now 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 to say that all writers make grammatical errors.

In a book of 80,000 words, it is next to impossible not to have a few at least.

This is why having a second pair of eyes is so vital.

You might have an editor, sub-editor, proofreader, or at the very least a friend or acquaintance with some grammatical knowledge.

But you need to check every text thoroughly and more than once.

 

Always check

But just as vital to be carefully checked, and perhaps even more so, are the 160 letters hurriedly arranged into a short sentence or two, and then posted on social media for the whole world to see and read.

No potential reader in their right mind would consider glancing at a book written by an author who couldn’t manage to write a grammatically correct short bio.

Don’t kill 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. Don’t make silly grammatical mistakes.

 

More reading: 350 Other Words For Said For Your Dialogue Writing

Derek Haines

A Cambridge CELTA English teacher and author with a passion for writing and all forms of publishing. My days are spent writing and blogging, as well as testing and taming new technology.

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One thought on “Who Said Writing Is Easy? It’s Not As Simple As You Think

  • Avatar for SCOTT
    November 14, 2019 at 4:56 am
    Permalink

    Who said, “writing is easy.”
    Beginning of quoted text needs a capital. Also, where’s the question mark for the question. Appears this, too, needs to be rewritten.
    “Tell me who said, “Writing is easy.”

    Reply

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