Friday, 10 May 2013


I was reading an article about Grammar in the Guardian online here.  I found it desperately depressing.  I didn't know what half of the words meant.  I was educated during the great educational experiments of the seventies and I was never taught grammar.  In fact during my first three years of school I wasn't taught to read or write either.  I was introduced to the whole idea of nouns and verbs aged eleven when I started to learn French.  I have never quite grasped some of the grammatical terms introduced by French either.

It was quite reassuring to find that my regular sin of starting a sentence with 'and' isn't so bad.  Apparently it is okay to boldly split infinitives.  I was drilled never to start a sentence with 'however' but I learned later that actually it is quite acceptable.

My first aim when I write a story is to write something that people can enjoy, with believable characters, interesting plots and room for a reader's imagination.  When it comes to the technical side of writing my general rule of thumb is, 'can someone who has never met me understand what I have written?  Is it clear?  Are there places which are ambiguous?  Is it consistent?  I suspect that using grammar correctly will help me achieve these goals.

I picked up grammar through reading.  I write what I think sounds write, listening to the words.  If I am a writer (and I suppose I am) then I really need to learn these things properly.  It's like a decorator not knowing how to paint a wall.

I think I had better look out for some evening classes.  I am not enthused by the prospect, but I am quite determined.  Can anyone recommend any books?


  1. We feel that so long as one's sentences are free of glaring errors and effectively convey meaning, they're good. Winston Churchill best made the point when he said: "Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I shall not put."

    1. Thank you - I love that quote. Churchill had such a good turn of phrase! I think that it comes down to 'can you understand this'. I think you have a better grasp of these things on your side of the Atlantic. Thank you for commenting. LM

    2. A better grasp of what? English? Oh no, we should say not. You all invented the language, after all. :)

    3. You all seem to be more clued up about grammar over there. Your spelling makes more sense. You have Joss Whedon. :)

      Neil Gaiman is a Brit, though, so that is something. LM x