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04 March 2010

Booking Through Thursday - Grammar


In honor of National Grammar Day … it IS “March Fourth” after all … do you have any grammar books? Punctuation? Writing guidelines? Style books?
More importantly, have you read them? How do you feel about grammar in general? Important? Vital? Unnecessary? Fussy?

Let me preface my answer by saying I am answering this question before coffee and while getting ready for a funeral. I agree readers, it is an odd time, but the only time I had. Yes I have grammar books, all from my college and post-college days. To save all of you the time it would take for subtraction, I was in college in the late 1980s. I honestly do not recall what the two main grammar books I have are at the moment. I have noticed with the increasing years of computer use, my grammar has declined, or maybe it is age, both? Back to my grammar books, both are rather large tomes and based on my writing as of late, I need to unearth them and use them, because yes, I find grammar to not only be important but vital in this new age of texting, IMing, Twitter, and all other shortcuts to communication. I would go into my fear that soon children will no longer know how to write, but fortunately dear readers, I am out of time. I do so look forward to reading how others answered this question when I return.

Edited to add: I speak several languages and while learning all of them, the focus on grammar was very strong. I notice my teens, each who speak at least one other language a piece, learn more grammar in their foreign language classes than their English classes. This makes me quite sad.

Anyone can play along each Thursday with Booking Through Thursday.

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17 comments:

Kris said...

Hi, I've given you an award, here you go: http://intetextualchronicles.blogspot.com/2010/03/my-very-first-award.html

Helen said...

I came across your post on Twitter. I suppose correct grammar depends on the context? Yes it should be taught at school especially as, I agree, the wide use of texting (and tweeting!) upsets the applecart as far as grammar is concerned. _But_ in a novel? Grammar should be correct, but not at the expense of altering the author's style.
I also feel that new writers should not be put off by the thought that they have to get the grammar right. Just dive in and write, who cares about grammar & punctuation at first draft stage? Even second draft. Get the story down, go with the flow of your inspiration and imagination - _then_ re-edit and sort out the errors. If you are still not certain about what is or is not correct grammar read it aloud and see if it sounds right. And then - especially for self publish/idependent writers - find a good freelance editor to go through it because a book written with too much basic bad grammar will, I'm afraid, be difficult to read and will, sadly, probably not be a very good book.

anthonynorth said...

I agree Twitter does tend to reduce grammar.

nashvillebookworm said...

I think good grammar is something that we should strive for at all times (I can't tell you how crazy I get when people juxtapose using "can" instead of "may" when asking a question). I also get driven up the wall when I see "First Annual" since...well, I had to read and take quizzes on the AP Style Guide and that was a clear rule and can't people just see that it's redundant?!?

::deep breath::

Anyway, as I was saying...

I think that grammar is important and it should be followed. However, texting seems to eroding that a lot. Which is a shame. Esp. when texting abbreviations and grammar abuses start to show up in your more professional e-mail correspondence. I had a former boss who would send out e-mail messages with the text messaging or IM abbreviations and, honestly, it made him look less professional to me...

fredamans said...

(((HUGS)))


http://fredasvoice.blogspot.com/2010/03/booking-through-grammar.html

Lori said...

I am sorry that you will have a sad time of it today. I don't even know what to say to that. Here's mine.

Mash1195 said...

Please stop by here. Have something for you.
CMash

reJoyce said...

I agree that it is important. It's definitely interesting to see the different takes so far on BTT.

Thanks for the comment.

MarceJ said...

I knew my 'alot' will get people, lol, I am happy to say I do not do it, I am very cautious.

Zee said...

I would definitely agree with you that people learn more grammar in foreign languages than in their own. I have often been told that I speak grammatically more correct English than native speakers because I learned English as a foreign language.

Bibliobabe said...

I'm sorry to hear about the funeral. Rough time to talk about grammar!

Here's my answer:
http://www.bibliobabe.com

Rose City Reader said...

Thanks for visiting Rose City Reader and leaving your link so I could find your answer. We seem to agree. Here is my answer.

Marie said...

I agree with you 100%.
Without grammar how would we even be able to communicate, to convey meaning? This topic is making my head hurt a little if only for the depressingly common disdain for well-articulated language I see out there! Oy.

Amused said...

Great point about foreign language lessons teaching so much about grammar! How could I foget that!

I'm sorry to hear about the funeral.

Barbara said...

sorry about the sad time for you, today.

agree with Helen -- even writers need a good editor.

here's my BTT

http://blog.readinggroupchoices.com/content/blog/barbara/10/march/writing-style-grammar-and-punctuation-important

Michelle said...

I agree that it's sad that they learn more grammar in their foreign language classes than they do in their English classes. Perhaps schools now assume that, since kids speak the language and read the language, they're internalizing the rules?

Unfortunately, this is not the case, but grammar is something that has sadly gone by the wayside in schools.

Jennifer G. said...

I notice my teens, each who speak at least one other language a piece, learn more grammar in their foreign language classes than their English classes.

That is sad. It was probably true of my high school classes, but we had a pretty firm foundation from earlier years. I don't know if kids are still getting that.