BACK IN THE OLDEN DAYS…WHEN GRAMMAR & PUNCTUATION RULED MY WRITING WORLD
I blush to admit it, but it has been so long since I studied grammar and punctuation that I have forgotten most of the terminology. True, I can recognize a noun in good light, and almost everyone knows what an adjective is, but when one gets into more arcane terminology, and its rules, I’m in trouble. Ask me what a preposition is, and I’ll stutter and stammer.
I guess that is a terrible thing for writer to admit, but it is no more than the truth in my case. Instead I rely on my muscle memory to do the right thing, and I guess it is a tribute to my early education that—mostly--it doesn’t let me down. Nonetheless, like most writers, I still develop bad habits and make mistakes, so need to be corrected every now and then; and I put considerable effort into self-correcting. In particular, I tend to read and re-read my work as if I was reading out loud—and if the rhythm is not right, I correct accordingly. But no, my lips do not move when I read.
Recently, I’ve decided to brush up on my school-work—one should revise every half century or so—and here let me refer you to the rather marvelous Jane Strauss who knows how to explain all this stuff with impressive clarity. Highly recommended.
Grammar and Punctuation come into the “Know the rules to break the rules category”—in that they allow considerable flexibility. In contrast, spelling is just something you have to get right.
Personally, I take the view that I need all the help I can get—especially with spelling—and make extensive use of Microsoft Word’s spelling and grammatical aids.
But you make mistakes in your blogs! I hear you cry. Yes, I do—and I’m not happy about it—but here time is an issue, because I have real writing work to get to. This is not to decry the value of blogs, but more to say that I cannot afford to be too perfectionist about such informal musings.
I shall try to improve.