Monday, July 7, 2014

Grammar? Who Cares? Maybe You Should



Grammar is boring! Grammar sucks! Who needs grammar? Grammar stinks!

I'm guessing we've all heard statements like the above, might even have said one or two ourselves on occasion. As little kids, we had to memorize our addition and subtraction facts, then they threw multiplication and division into the mix. Grammar is no different. We needed to memorize a lot of rules and learn to apply those rules in our writing. 

I'm also guessing that a whole lot of people kept those math facts in their memory bank but only some have kept and adhered to the grammar rules. Who cares? Writers care, and if they don't, they need an attitude adjustment. Even so, remembering every little rule we learned in school is not always easy.

If you're a writer, you need to write with proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling. With spell check on your computer, there should be no problem there. If you have Office and use Word for your writing program, there's a way to check grammar. Here's a step by step. I found this by googling so you can find other programs to help you with grammar, punctuation and spelling by doing the same.

Or you can keep a handy guide like the one pictured above. I was dusting some bookshelves the other day and this one fell from the shelf right into my hands. I'm not about to pass up a hint like that, so I took it to my office and scanned through it. It's a 1979 edition and the cover and pages have turned a bit yellow. I was curious to see how many editions of this writing style guide there have been so checked it on Amazon. There are an amazing number listed. The original was written and published nearly 100 years ago and there have been myriad editions since the first one. 

One of the interesting sections discusses 49 missused words and expressions. Part of the book gives grammar rules while another discusses 'style' in writing. The edition I have is a small paperback size and a mere 85 pages. A handy guide for the writer to keep accessible at all times.

A concern in today's techie world with texting and shortcuts in email is that we are going to lose some of our grammar, spelling and punctuation skills. It makes sense to use those shortcuts when texting but are they going to spill over into our other writing, as well?

Back to some of those statements about grammar at the top of this post. A whole lot of people who might have said those things will notice if a book, or article, or short story doesn't follow the rules. Readers expect writers to give it to them in the 'right way.' It makes me feel that, as a writer, I owe it to my readers to use proper English. How about you? Does it matter to you? Do you strive for perfection in the mechanics of grammar, spelling and punctuation? Do you think it's important or not? 

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