Friday, 10 May 2013

Grammar


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?

4 comments:

  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."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    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

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

      Delete
    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

      Delete