Part of my daily job is to review all of the sales materials our marketing team creates. I check for proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation, and review for general correctness. (Is the image of the book cover right? Has the book title changed since marketing wrote the copy? Are the price and trim size OK?) Here’s how a typical e-mail exchange goes:
Marketing designer: Here is an ad for you to check. Let me know if you have any changes.
Me: Sorry, but there should be a comma after [word] and “[other word]” is misspelled. Can you please fix?
Marketing designer: Sure. Here’s a revised file.
Me: Sorry, sorry, I missed that the address at the bottom is incorrect. It needs to be updated. Thanks very much.
I used to think I was being polite, but I’m now thinking Mom’s been right all these years: I’m over-apologetic. I apologize for everything. If you bump into me on the street, I’ll probably say I’m sorry. If I ask a waitress to make any sort of alteration to my order (“Hold the cheese,” “extra crispy,” etc.) I’ll apologize while I’m doing it. I think the worst of it is when I’m walking down the hall, accidentally catch someone’s eye, and quickly apologize. For being seen? For obscuring your line of vision? For existing? Sorry, sorry, sorry!
And so, I’m done apologizing for grammar. It’s the least of my worries. It’s not my fault that you need a period there. I don’t need to feel bad that I’m correcting a misspelled word. Because I’ve talked to that lovely marketing designer, and she has assured me she doesn’t feel personally offended when I help improve the quality of whatever it is she’s working on. In fact — shocker! — she’s happy for the check. So, sorry I’m not sorry, bad grammar. Make your own apologies from now on.