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?