Hands up all those who consider grammar as an outdated concept? Well, I challenge you to consider what our world of reading and writing would be without this set of rules? Admittedly some of these rules seem arbitrary, particularly spelling, but come with me dear reader on a journey to discuss grammar.
These examples are ones I regularly use to show how powerful grammar is when you get to know it intimately.
Grammar is the difference between:
- feeling you’re nuts and feeling your nuts
- knowing your shit and knowing you’re shit.
Do you know the difference between these two statements?
*Woman: without her, man is nothing.
*Woman, without her man, is nothing.
For those purists out there, strictly speaking it is correct punctuation that is rendering the different meanings for the same strings of words. I am of the opinion that grammar and punctuation are elements of the same wonderful set of principles for clarity in writing and reading that has been adopted, willingly or not, for our language.
The beauty and power of grammatically correct sentences using words that are chosen with care has been a life-long love of mine. Yes, I love to read books, essays, articles, blog posts, poetry and song lyrics. If poor grammar and spelling are present, I find it distracting, not a cause for alarm or worse a charge of the grammar police.
Pointing fingers and shouting abuse is not the answer. Explanation, discussion and sometimes a healthy dose of humour will always get the point across better and allow change to occur without fear.
The rules exist to help with making sense of words strung together. If you are one of the lucky ones who had a great introduction to primary school grammar and punctuation (thank you Mrs Ryan), you will have confidence in putting your strings of words together. If not, it is a challenge and finding resources to give assistance can be a problem.
Here are a few that I use myself to explain the niceties of grammar, punctuation and spelling:
- English Grammar for Dummies – Australian Edition (2008) by Geraldine Woods, Wendy M Anderson and Lesley J Ward. Wiley Publishing Australia Pty Ltd.
- The little green grammar book (2008) by Mark Tredinnick. UNSW Press.
Yes, I am ignoring the strict rules about citing references here.
Checking points of grammar on-line can be frustrating and time wasting but I encourage you to look diligently.
So some general bits of advice for you dear reader:
- correct grammar and spelling is important regardless of the audience you are writing for – the impression you give from the very first word is crucial
- if you aren’t confident of grammar rules – have some plan in place for your work to be checked before displaying it
- a good editor will edit your work but a better one will be able to explain why the error has occurred
- relying on SpellCheck can be risky – it will not pick up the difference between manger and manager (they are both nouns – a topic for a later post I think).
So as I suggested in the title of this piece, please put your best grammar heart into your writing when you are going to share it – it sits right next to your passion for the topic.
Bind them together and you have a powerful piece that your readers will remember for all the right reasons. Yes I include recipes!
I leave the final words to Stephen Fry – my mind crush.
Thank you for reading to the very end dear reader I have taken on the Ultimate Blog Challenge – THIS IS NUMBER ONE!