Tuesday, February 23, 2016

What my grammar says

Well, since I made this point a few times in my old posts, I might as well restate it for when I delete those posts. My view on this subject hasn't changed, even if the kind of blog I'm running has.

Grammar is a tricky issue, to be sure. A lot of people take great pride in being able to correct other people's mistakes here, often in a sarcastic and borderline rude manner. I won't hide the fact that I've been occasionally guilty of that myself. It doesn't help there are people who really honestly don't even try to be the least bit comprehensible when they communicate via writing.

But that's the key factor, being comprehensible. And most of us can write well enough (side note: it's tempting to say good enough there and see who spots it) to get our point across. At that point, little details like "mixing" up lie and lay, or not putting proper spaces around certain types of punctuation don't really matter.

English is a complex and confusing language as it is, and most of the rules I ignore are the little one-off things that would make anyone trying to learn our language tear their hair out. In fact, there are times a few of the weirder parts make me want to tear mine out. It's what happens when a language that grew out of Germanic roots had a bunch of people impose Latin-based rules on it. (No joke, this is what actually happened.)

This isn't a license to go wild with bad spelling and weird sentences. I'm writing so people can enjoy my stories, which they couldn't do if they can't even figure out what's going on. Even when I deviate from the normal grammar rules, I make a point to be consistent when I do so. So if I'm not putting spaces after an ellipsis, you can bet I'll do that for every ellipsis.

If anyone still objects, fine. I can't stop them. But they can't stop me either; I'll still keep approaching grammar as a set of guidelines instead of rules set in stone. And my stories won't suffer for it.

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