Sunday, June 6, 2010

Wirting and Confidents and Grammer

I may come off as slightly cranky with this post, but I must comment on something I have seen a lot of lately, especially in Cyber Land.

Poor grammar and spelling. 

Spelling poorly (at least in the writings I've noticed recently) is usually the result of lazily depending on spellcheck.  Spellcheck corrects the wrong word for you, so words like inconvenience become incontinence!  Other frequent occurences include confusion between:
  • accept/except
  • advise/advice
  • effect/affect
  • your/you're
  • there/their/they're
  • ... and so on...

The crimes against grammar usually include:
  • run on sentences
  • apostrophe plurals (argghhhh!!!)
  • vague pronoun references
  • misplaced modifiers
  • verb conjugations (especially irregular past participals and perfect tenses)
  • semi-colons and colons used incorrectly (argghhhh!!!)
Studying grammar is about as much fun as watching paint dry, but it's a must!

When I first started creative writing, I had been teaching grammar and composition for so long, I felt confident in my ability to at least write clearly and correctly.  In some ways, that was half the battle right there. 

I realize that online communications are often informal, and are often done on the fly.  Plus, I must confess I've had my share of typos and grammar goofs, but things are rarely perfect.

However, if you want to get published, and maybe someday quit your day job to be a full time writer, it's a good idea to develop good habits and use them 99% of the time. 

I think the point is that you must know what the rules are before you decide when and where to break them.

3 comments:

  1. I agree... sad thing is I live in sin. I have little to no knowledge of grammar, yet I strive to be a writer.

    My only save in grace is--I am trying to repent and learn all I can. I envy people like you how have a great knowledge of grammar.

    I contend that it is laziness... laziness not to try and grow, learn and at least try to be more than you are--that is why I hate it.

    If you have pride and a desire to be a writer--spend some time learning the craft... and that means every little crevasse unexplored.

    Thx and good luck.

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  2. Hey Jeff,

    A quick, easy (and not terribly boring) guide is

    http://www.amazon.com/Elements-Style-William-Strunk-Jr/dp/020530902X

    by Strunk and White. If I could only have one language use reference book, this would be it!

    Jill

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