Let’s Talk About… Grammar

I’ve talked about grammar before in this post.  I want to talk about it again.

Grammar is like sin.  We all have our special list of unpardonable grammar sins.  We judge the writing of others based on that list.  A couple of my peeves are getting accept/except wrong and using the wrong pronoun (My wife and me went to the movies).  For me the sin above all others (not really a grammar thing) is leaving out a word.  I look back at an old post and see a word missing.  I am mortified.  I see this in the writing of professional journalists far too often.

Other grammar sins I don’t consider to be sins as much as they are ways of developing a ‘style’ or ‘voice’ or ‘tone’.  I know I break the rules of grammar regularly.  I use sentence fragments.  I don’t pay much attention to punctuation rules.  I punctuate solely for the purpose of flow or readability.  I’m looking for a tone that is light, casual, conversational. That’s for my run of the mill musings.  For story I try to stick more closely to the rules but even then readability and voice are more important to me than strict adherence to the rules.

I know that going for style or tone can be used as an excuse for poor writing.  I also know that taken too far ignoring grammar rules can cost credibility with readers.

So what about it?  What’s more important to you?  Grammar rules, professionalism, style, voice, tone?  And how do we know when we have crossed the line from casual to sloppy?

I would like to know what you think of my blog so please take the following poll.

If you feel like it.

I’m not looking for attaboys here.  This is merely a lame attempt at humor.

As a matter of fact I’ve set this so you can vote as many times as you like.  I plan to vote hundreds of times for the one with Hemingway in it.


About Angus Lewis

My wife and I lived our whole lives in Arkansas until ten years ago. We moved to the Kansas City area in 2011 (a job change). That was the reason for the 'From a Far Country' title. Our children and grandchildren were in Arkansas. Six months ago we sold our house and bought one in Sherwood, Arkansas and my wife moved back down here. Two weeks ago I retired and moved back too. (I'm probably going to try to find something part time to keep me out of trouble.) So maybe the 'From a Far Country' title is not so much of a fit anymore. But I think I'll stick with it. I'm still not home. Not yet. The Bible says we are all strangers and pilgrims here. Our real home is with God and some day we'll be there. We'll be home.
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4 Responses to Let’s Talk About… Grammar

  1. Me and bubba don’t see nothin’ wrong with it! Your attempt at humor made me laugh over my morning coffee. For the record, couldn’t agree with you more about the grammar thing. . .

  2. I just found your blog, but so far it seems entertaining. I wouldn’t ask for more than that until I get to know you better. Enjoy, T

  3. Angus,

    One has to know grammar rules before one can break them in good conscience. And I’m with you–readability and tone and dictate most of my choices.

    Keep up the good work!

  4. Bibi says:

    I have gone back and read a lot of your old posts (as well as keeping up with the new ones) and I find myself thinking, “I should be your editor.” 🙂 Then I think, I could use one too sometimes (couldn’t everyone?!). But misspellings and missed words aside, it’s just a great blog, tiny–only bothering us over the top OCD people- -grammar mistakes and all!! Plus the humor and profound wisdom far out-weigh anything else about it!

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