Grammar Time

spelling-hijinx

Okay, so, today I’m browsing my FB feed when I come across this (above) and further down the page I land on another cutesy-saccharin-sweet-aw-garsh gag post about feelings, mushy-lovey dork stuff a certain someone constantly posts (to drive me bonkers, but she’ll never know that). Emo?

Now, this woman who has a particularly frequent habit of posting every saccharin-rich mush quote she can find also manages to post those that include at least one grammatical issue. Never fails. The other day it was a Hemmingway quote.

Today, it’s trustability.

Which, in essence, would mean the word trustable is also valid, right?

So, I laugh it off and proceed scrolling down the page. Rolling Stone used the term woken up. Another pet peeve of mine.

I’m actually so good at this now that I’m beginning to recognize type-o’s from outright dumb. There is a difference, and something as simple as editing could have fixed a multitude of online sins, but whatever.

People like me are referred to as Grammar Nazis and Prescriptive-ists but that doesn’t bother me or my kin. The reason? As I continued to scroll down the page, I came across this article in The Huffington Post via Writer’s Relief:  The Art of Using Correct Tense in Your Writing

One of dozens of articles and self-help books online for people interested in having their writing published, or at least taken seriously.

If you are one of the many who are being rejected (continuously) you might want to reconsider your “… don’t give a damn” approach to grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

From TerribleMinds comes this article: 25 Reasons Readers Will Quit Reading Your Story and #2 is bad grammar.

On the conflicting information front, if you get your knowledge from the internet and nowhere else, you would think that half the population love reading and the other half waved bye-bye to the book a long time ago. It doesn’t help to know this. What does help, though, is to know what turns readers on and off about writing. I may be in a minority here when I say my limit is one mistake, but again, I am able to distinguish between type-o’s and outright derp. I cannot read derp because it is too distracting, too annoying, and too frustrating to read. The occasional whoops doesn’t bug me much.

teacher-english-grammar-appreciation-ecards-someecards

Poor kids today, though, have it rough because while the law may state that ignorance is no excuse, if they aren’t being taught the rules of grammar, spelling, and punctuation, then how are they to be expected to abide by them? If they’re not expected to read – and by read I mean all things literary, to exclude Twilight and Harry Potter – then how are they to be expected to expand their literary knowledge?

When I find articles written by young things who claim they aren’t interested in reading because of terrifying big words, even more scary big paragraphs, and the downright confusing Elizabethan Prose, it makes me laugh. Of course you’re not interested, dear thing. Big words and the paragraph would terrify the unschooled, but this isn’t and shouldn’t be a deterrent to those who want and need to write.

What it is is a generational interest gap and nothing more. A majority of people actually lie when they say they’ve read 1984, War and Peace, and even Pride & Prejudice. They know the title because a lot of other people do, but they’ve never read the book. Maybe because there are too many words. Some are even more than two syllables. Who knows.

We are influenced as well by folks like AP – who worry more about ink cost and space than actual grammar and punctuation. The Oxford Comma debate started as a result. Who the hell is AP to dictate grammar? Why should they be allowed to dictate anything to me? I’m not writing a news column for a paper or magazine, so why should I care what their rules and guidelines are? Now, if you’re in college, this is a huge issue, but I was in college, and despite what all the professors harped on about for hours, I refused to bite and still refuse to abide.

Alright? All right. Awhile? A while.

Even the word processing program a majority of us rely on to get our work done, Microsoft WORD, is not geared toward the novel writer but the business world. Memos and draft letters to potential clients, this is what WORD was designed for and not us potential authors.

Case in point:

word_suggests_you_is

Now, I realized there was a punctuation issue in my work (above) that sent up the red flag in WORD, but since I started using this program, I’ve taken issue countless times – to the point of just shutting the thing off entirely. I have zero grammar/spelling/punctuation tags ticked with this program. I gave up on it about 5 years ago and put a small sticky note at the bottom of my monitor to hide the red X that appears there.

A form of grammar tug-of-war between my brain’s knowledge and WORDs fed bot information.

For whatever reason, contractions are a no-no in the business world. Using contractions at work – maybe even orally – is a sign of something evil. I wouldn’t know since I’m not involved personally and honestly don’t care. However! To suggest I use the term you is … call me a racist, I’m fine with that because I know I’m not … you are telling me I can’t use a contraction but that you are okay with you is.

??? … ,,,

I can’t argue this point with a bot, but regardless, I’m still right and WORD is wrong.

WORD does not recognize dialogue. It knows what the tags are, but the wording inside those tags confuses WORD. When a writer uses dialogue, she makes every attempt to sound realistic. This includes the use of slang, ending a sentence with a preposition, and the constant use of contractions. WORD is not amused.

We are up against a lot of misinformation battles in our quest to become published, and if we’re not initially equipped to properly fight these battles, is it any wonder there is so much wrong being published in the world today? I can hear the youth moaning now: why don’t you just die already? when the old people are gone, this won’t be an issue anymore.

So true. Like Rachmaninoff, Wilde, and Sinatra. They’re dead but their work lives on, and to those of you out there who aren’t afraid of the occasional $10 word or a paragraph that consists of 3 or more sentences, we salute you.

Maybe I’ll cave in to this nonsense or there may be a way to avoid it.

Then people will realize the importance of grammar rather than taking it for granted.

I’m not sure whether I could ever let my knowledge go that easily, but if the weather is nice, I might think about it.

If there are people who can show me solid evidence for sloppy in my writing, their evidence better be conclusive and strong, or I’ll never believe they’re on the right track.

If I let my grammar, spelling, and punctuation become loose, I may just lose myself entirely.

When you’re on the right track to success, though, I know your mind will be at peace.

The effects of bad writing will affect your chances of being published.

There are a lot of people who think there isn’t an issue here, but an editor will only allot so much time to read bad writing.

grammar-ecard-knowing-your-shit

 

 

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About RaineBalkera

Aspiring Author of Romance
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5 Responses to Grammar Time

  1. Harliqueen says:

    Wow, great post 😀

    That screenshot made me cringe!

    Like

  2. Jules says:

    Right there with you on this one.

    I work (as an administrative assistant) in the graduate education department of a small-ish university, and I’ve had multiple occasions to read student work (as in, masters thesis projects and doctoral dissertations). The sorts of grammatical mistakes I’ve seen were sometimes soul-crushing. And don’t get me started on the kind of work I would see generated by my student peers when I was working on my undergrad degree – some of it was bad enough to make me wonder just how they got into college to begin with.

    It is a sign of the times. Writing – and writing well – seems to be a relatively rare goal for just about everyone who’s not a writer, either personally or professionally. Too many people just don’t care. A colleague of mine I worked with about 15 years ago – a copywriter – coined one of my favorite phrases: “It makes my teeth itch!”

    Yeah, that about sums it up for me.

    Like

    • RainMosq says:

      LOL (jk) – 🙂 This isn’t a brag (because truthfully, it was upsetting then as it is now) but during a final in a Journalism class, the Prof. left the room for a time. Right away, the kids relied on me to supply them with the answers. It was disheartening in a room filled with budding journalists and writers to know that they hadn’t a clue about even the most basic rules of the structure, grammar, and punctuation of their own language. Throughout that semester, we sat with our backs to everyone facing a computer, and it started to bug me that the Prof. would call on me to answer a lot of the questions – until I realized that no one was capable of answering them – except for me. Us older folk are doomed to seeing (and reading) the equivalent of the modern education system’s output, and that is what makes me so sad. To say ‘it makes my teeth itch’ does sum it up, for us all. The hope is that this will come full circle, but I won’t be one to hold my breath 😉
      Have a wonderful day, and thanks for stopping by!

      Like

      • Jules says:

        Can’t say that I had that sort of experience in any of my undergrad classes. I think the strangest thing for me about the whole experience was that 99% of my peers were the same age as my oldest son. I don’t know if my “advanced age” was an attractor or a repellant, but in any case, I had to restrain myself on multiple occasions from shredding their work because it was so bad. I would never have been rude or cruel about it, but holy crow…some of it just made me want to cry. *sigh*

        And oh, I see you are following my writing blog now, which is pretty damned cool. Thanks!

        It’s a bit dusty at the moment but I have some pretty gems lying around in the archives if you have the time to poke around; I also aim to start updating it at least once a week if I can keep up with both it and my “main blog.” At some point, I may have to pick one or the other, but at least the purpose of each one is different. We’ll see how long I can keep the balls in the air.

        Hope you decide to stick around! 😉

        Like

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