It’s March 4th, which means it’s National Grammar Day!!! I can hear some of you screaming WHOOO-HOOO while others of you subtly flip me the bird and scowl. Well, it also happens to be Paczki Day, so grab your favorite kind and think sweet tasty thoughts about GRAMMAR.
I’m not going to write an entire blog post about the best (worst?) examples of bad grammar, nor will I yammer on about how harrrrrrrd it is to get it right. I think I got that out of my system when I scream-texted my rage over INTRANSITIVE VERBS!!!!!!!!!!! to Britt last night. Instead, here are just a few of my random thoughts about grammar, feel free to agree or disagree, or add any of your own in the comments!
Kate’s Random Thoughts on Grammar
- Some grammar rules ARE hard. That’s why there’s Google…you can put something as simple as “lay lie” in the search box, and BOOM, plenty of sites will pop up explaining proper usage, and often in very understandable terms! I have some of them bookmarked and refer back to them as needed.
- At this point,
theirthere is no excuse for not knowing the bare minimum rules of it’s/its, you’re/your, and they’re/there/their. Those three examples are used in everyday correspondence, including e-mails to your boss. Don’t look like a ding-dong, especially if youryou’re planning to ask for a raise.
- When writing dialogue, there’s naturally a certain amount of leeway with correct grammar. If everyone spoke with impeccable grammar, we would know for sure that the pod people had arrived. For that reason, in dialogue, I don’t go immediately into seizures if a character’s spoken sentence starts with “But.” That being said…
- If you promptly abandon all attempts at proper grammar because “it’s dialogue!” then your characters will sound like morons (unless we’re looking at dialect, which is a whole other subject). One of my favorite tips to writers: READ IT ALOUD. Yes, summon your inner actor/actress and read it out loud, with feeling! Doing so may clue you in to something that does sound awkward. Avoid doing this in public, however.
- And finally, a suggestion for basic courtesy. I’ve served as an unpaid beta reader for many people over the years, and will admit to getting quietly hostile after correcting something simple for the thousandth time. Before you ship your masterpiece off to your beta or editor, go through and correct as many grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors as you can find. Doing so will not only sharpen your own skills, but it will make your beta/editor a much happier person. Sending a sloppy piece of writing says a great deal about how little you respect your own work and the services your beta/editor provides…especially if that person is doing it for free or in exchange for something else. If you’re paying an editor, you may rationalize that you’re giving them money to deal with all that. Fair enough…but don’t be surprised if your face ends up on a dartboard in their office.
My fun grammar link! Lisa explains grammar issues beautifully, and with a wicked sense of humor. Go check her out! (P.S. – She’s also an editor, hint hint hint!)