Thursday, March 7, 2013
Oh, you grammar Nazis, you...
(Yeah, I taught English for ten years.)
I hate it when people misuse punctuation. Misspelled words--the classic affect vs. effect, for example, or confidant instead of confident, and the ever-present confusion of it's and its--make my teeth ache. My nerve endings cringe when I read sentences like, "If I would've seen it..."
And don't get me started on the new-generation text-type spellings of UR and THX and GR8. Hoo-hah, great time savers, those. What do people do with the thousands of hours saved by typing UR instead of you're, I wonder?
When I started submitting my work to a critique group, I knew I needed to work on my writing skills--pace, authorial intrusions, characterizations, descriptions, whatever. But you can imagine I felt so confident (yeah, not confidant) about my grammar.
And then came the critiques.
"You can't start sentences with a conjunction."
"This is passive voice. Change it to active."
"Don't end your sentences with a preposition."
But I love to start sentences with conjunctions (noticed that, have you?). And, as far as I'm concerned, the passive voice was made for using. It's a tool, to be used sparingly, yes, but not one I'm willing to do without (hehe).
So the debates raged--continue to rage. Well, "rage"... We're a decent lot over at the Internet Writing Workshop, and arguments seldom (if ever) heat up enough to warrant an admin intervention. But grammar and its usage is one topic no one can seem to agree on.
And then this article popped up (thanks, Peter Bernhardt), courtesy of Ben Yagoda, author of How Not To Write Bad: The Most Common Writing Errors and the Best Ways to Avoid Them, just published last month. Ah, the beauty of freedom--including the freedom to disagree.
How do you feel about grammar (and spelling and punctuation and etc.)? Does misuse bother you, or are you a grammar free thinker? What impact does this have on your writing?