Thoughts on grammer

Forrester: Paragraph three starts…with a conjunction, “and.” You should never start a sentence with a conjunction.

Jamal: Sure you can.

Forrester: No, it’s a firm rule.

Jamal: No, it was a firm rule. Sometimes using a conjunction at the start of a sentence makes it stand out. And that may be what the writer’s trying to do.

Forrester: And what is the risk?

Jamal: Well the risk is doing it too much. It’s a distraction. And it could give your piece a run-on feeling. But for the most part, the rule on using “and” or “but” at the start of a sentence is pretty shaky. Even though it’s still taught by too many professors. Some of the best writers have ignored that rule for years, including you.

Who decides on grammar rules? Is it the same people who decided on swearing? I never understood why swear words are so bad. They are just descriptive words. And over time they get absorbed into everyday language. Will my great-great-grandchildren use FUCK like we use damn?

Can grammar rules be broken? I know grammargirl will be upset with the idea. But, grammar rules get broken all the time. By published authors. Not all sentences are complete with subject, verb, predicate.

What started this was reading a couple of posts about publishing industry and where things are going?There were a few comments about editing.

From Edittorrent: I do run the Word grammar checker. And I ignore almost everything it flags. But it catches enough gunk to be worth running. By the way, the things it flags which I generally ignore are: fragments, reflexive pronoun errors, which/that distinctions, and what it refers to as “possible verb confusion.”

Good thing we run a grammar check so we can ignore all the grammar errors it finds.

From Levi Montgomery:Second (this is where I start to get angry — ok, I started a while back): You’ve just told me, without reading a single word of my writing, that I’m such a bad writer that any random person who decides to call himself an “editor” can make my book better. That anything that random person does will make it better. Frequently, the claims made include such doozies that every book should be cut by ten percent, or that deleting all adverbs will make the book better, or that half the adjectives need to go, or that you should always use active voice and always use nouns and verbs. Period.

And a comment on The New Money Flow: (I’m a deconstructionist so I don’t mind certain grammar rules. Watch, I’ll end a sentence in a preposition later on.)

As I ranted on Levi’s blog post, I realized I should shut and write my own which hopefully I do tomorrow and you will be able to read 6 months from now. Right. THat’s my usual way to go to right.

All I can say is thank goodness for spell check. Otherwise I wouldn’t be a writer.


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