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WEbook's superstore for talking shop: colons vs. semicolons; dialogue format; point of view. And everything in between.
Posted: 8/24/2013 2:10 AM PDT
Whoa! This has sparked off a rather decent debate. My mother works in this such field and she does agree that the English have indeed a hard language to pick up due to the same word having different meaning. Grammar is a bit of a boggy swamp mire if you do not know where it goes.
helen looked at the car it was a horrid brown
Look at that sentence you can see what I missed out
Helen looked at the car, it was a horrid brown.
or if it belongs to someone.
Helen's car was a horrid brown
The boy's coat was warm
However, it changes position if there are a lot of people in the scene of the same work force.
The police offices' examined the scene of the crime.
Posted: 5/21/2013 6:18 AM PDT
I think we can use this thread to find enough misuses of grammar, punctuation and spelling to hold an English class or two.
There were a few colloquialisms too.
I think it's time to wade through the bad grammar of a good story rather than wade through the bad grammar used in a blog about bad grammar.
Wow, look at that. I used "bad grammar" three times in one sentence.
Posted: 9/2/2011 7:32 AM PDT
Posted: 9/2/2011 7:22 AM PDT
I can understand your frustration with those who quote, "claim to be 'top of their English class', or 'majoring in English'," but as for those who simply call themselves writers, why do they NEED to be English majors in your eyes? Yes, I'm sure many people have read their stories and cringed at the lack of mechanics, but whether your mechanics are flawless or not, writing is writing. If it cannot flow in its free form, you kill the art. And if every person and their brother has to master English mechanics before they start writing, you might as well kill the artist.
Posted: 8/3/2011 2:31 PM PDT
I understand that some people aren't good at grammar, and I would never stop reading because they have never learnt certain things. However, I find that many people who call themselves writers don't even make an attempt to use proper grammar. When they do that, I find myself irritated.
I even have a friend that told me she accidently handed in a paper written in text speak. I was shocked.
Posted: 5/30/2010 1:03 AM PDT
Not at degree level, although the barbarians are at the gates ...:).
Posted: 5/28/2010 12:13 AM PDT
There is an argument that English is an evolving l\anguage that has natural development in txtspch, which is trans-atlantic so color/colour might be a thing of the past, its clr.
Posted: 5/24/2010 12:32 AM PDT
Actually the way you spell words like colour is correct as the language we speak, read and write is English, which means that it is the property of the people from England. Some person called Webster changed the spelling of certain words, either to simplify it phonetically or for political reasons, when he created a dictionary for use in the U. S. A. I don't mind Americans using a different standard spelling but I do object to being told that the original, and correct. spelling is incorrect.
Posted: 5/23/2010 9:07 PM PDT
And here I am worried that I need to write properly.
I spell words differently than Americans, living in Canada and some people wonder why on earth I put 'u's where they shouldn't be. Simply put, that's how we spell those words where I live.
I have found there is the odd thing on Word that slips by.
I'm on here to learn the technical aspects and nuts and bolts from seasoned writers. This seemed like a very good place to start. I grew up learning from dusty dry grammar books so hopefully I haven't lost what I was taught oh.....20 odd years ago.
So it is nice to know that I can come here and ask.
Posted: 5/18/2010 2:31 PM PDT
Well, I agree, but you also have to take people who aren't from English backgrounds into consideration. Then again, of course, they could always write in their native language.
@Kansukia: Actually, Word sucks. It doesn't catch half of the mistakes I find in my pieces afterward; it rarely corrects syntax structure and (to tell you the truth) doesn't know how to handle advanced and varied sentance formations. It always tries to "Correct" me and force me to go back to a very basic structure. Sometimes, what's in the program isn't always right xP (I'm not saying my structure is perfect, but it's not incorrect.) On another note, Kansukia:
Anyone else notice Twilight? I've taken a red pen to the book, and there are so many errors I quit by the 13th page. Yet, Stephanie Meyers did two things, which are as follows: graduate--top of her class, I might add--from English, majoring in it, and then dare say in an interview that her books were such a hit that she would never let the editor touch them again (not that that editor did much in the first place). Whether you like Twilight or not, it's a fact of life that the original, published copies of it were horridly written.
I've seen a few others like that, too, such as 'How Stella Got Her Groove Back' and 'Winner Take Nothing' by Ernest Hemmingway. Now, Stella is a popular movie, and Hemmingay has always been a popular name, even if his writing is so bad no one in my house could read past the first page (even those of us who suck at writing).
How it happens? Oh, god--I've got no idea!
Posted: 5/10/2010 12:35 PM PDT
I also noticed a few mistakes now in my post but for some reason webook doesn't let you edit after you post. so often I only see a mistake after posting so I wish they would add this feature as well as being able to delete a post you made. My comp sometimes has gliches and occasianally (know that is wrong but no spell check here, another thing that would be useful) post something twice. I know this last post wasn't related to grammer, it is just a suggestion for webook I think would help a lot.
Posted: 5/10/2010 12:23 PM PDT
Wow MissC, a lot of these seem to be refering to me when I was in no way suggesting that I was better. I was actuallybemouning the fact that I felt my lack of good grammer could be attributed to the lack of a better education and was wishing that sources such as the Bible and Shakespeare were more referenced as a tool to teach better English. I am a terrible speller and never claimed I was good at it. In webook I have no red lines or such to tell me I have typed something wrong, perhaps I should always type in word first but I seldom have the time to even get online. I have a three month old and even now he is crying so I can't take the extra time. Got him but now I have to type one handed I feel like perhaps this,grammer, is a major problem for many and maybe we can create a group or something to help each other with these kind of issues. I know many of us don't have a lot of time but even a little help for those like me who appreciate it would be welcome.
Posted: 5/10/2010 1:25 AM PDT
I just felt it was important to mention the fact that there are reasons why various names from history can have alternative spellings. In a short story I wrote about a 'Romanised' Viking I change my character's name as his viewpoint changes and some people found this confusing but, although I use it as a literary conceit (term meaning an 'extended metaphor' here), it was a common thing for those who could write in that period to vary the way their names, at least in written form.
The only other thing I would point out is that the spell-checker in MS Word (or any other WP) cannot use the context to check the meaning and so sometimes uses a red line when in fact the original spelling is the correct one, it cannot take the embedded use of words from foreign languages or archaic spellings, if it is set for the Webster's dictionary variations on English it cannot accept the English form and vice versa. It really should be only used as a rough guide.
Try these in Word:
Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote,
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licóur
Of which vertú engendred is the flour;
Ða wæs on burgum Beowulf Scyldinga,
leof leodcyning, longe þrage
folcum gefræge (fæder ellor hwearf,
aldor of earde), oþþæt him eft onwoc
heah Healfdene; heold þenden lifde,
gamol ond guðreouw, glæde Scyldingas.
ðæm feower bearn forð gerimed
ME has some words that are the same, although the meanings may have changed. In AS probably the only word that can be recognised is the proper name "Beowulf".
Posted: 5/9/2010 6:06 PM PDT
"I must quibble about Shakespeare. Our spelling is conventional; the man himself couldn't make up his mind as to how to spell his name and there are at least four common versions and about 18 variations in total. There was, at one time, speculation that the names showed that there were at least two different people, who had been concatenated, but now it is believed that exact spelling just wasn't important in Elizabethan times."
I would have left that one out of my reply if I thought the poster was using a variation on the spelling instead of simply misspelling it. The other examples were sufficient to demonstrate that the poster didn't have standing to be a spelling or grammar Nazi.
I take exception to the increasingly popular notion that the ability to spell correctly is indicative of intelligence, or at least of having been formally educated. It has nothing to do with intelligence, motivation, or future success.
If someone has a talent for telling a story with pen and paper, it doesn't matter if they know how to use a semi-colon, the right place to insert quotations marks, or even if they don't know how to spell "believe". Chances are good that they realize their spelling/grammar is not up to par, that's why they ask others to review their work.
For all the bad spellers out there, I say this to you:
Keep writing. Focus on the story and worry about the spelling and grammar after your first draft. Improve your spelling and grammar skills as you go along, but don't let a deficiency bring you to a halt. Keep the creative juices flowing.
You'll always find someone who is more than happy to adopt an air of superiority about them. Genuinely intelligent people are secure in their intelligence and don't feel the need post in forums lamenting about how "shocked" they are at seeing some misspelled words or an apostrophe that has been misused.
This link below will take you to an article that you may find interesting. It's about a professional writer who cannot spell at a grade school level. There are reasons why a person can be a good reader, but a poor speller. There are many famous writers who have made their editors work hard.
Posted: 5/9/2010 8:17 AM PDT
I must quibble about Shakespeare. Our spelling is conventional; the man himself couldn't make up his mind as to how to spell his name and there are at least four common versions and about 18 variations in total. There was, at one time, speculation that the names showed that there were at least two different people, who had been concatenated, but now it is believed that exact spelling just wasn't important in Elizabethan times.
Posted: 5/9/2010 4:16 AM PDT
Perhaps the word you were searching for was "I've"?
Posted: 5/9/2010 3:57 AM PDT
Pot, meet kettle.
It's always amusing to read a "holier than thou" post about literacy, spelling, grammar, and so on. It's uncanny how many of their own posts contain errors.
1. A lot. Not alot.
2. Believe. Not beleive.
3. Bible, not bible.
4. English, not english.
5. Excerpts, not excerts.
6. Because, not cause.
7. Quite, not quit.
8. Shakespeare, not Shakespear
9. Odyssey, not Oddysey.
10. It's, not it (when you mean to say it is).
11. Develop a friendly relationship with the comma.
If I make a judgment about a person's intelligence, I don't base it on spelling or grammar. My judgment is based on their willingness to challenge their preconceived notions. I'm sure your research on the topic of American habits was exhaustive. I look forward to reading your published findings, along with your "overwhelming" evidence.
Gaia, do you not have the ingenious little feature that puts a red line underneath misspelled words? I can't imagine typing a post bemoaning the level of literacy without taking notice of the fact that my post resembled a murder scene.
Posted: 5/3/2010 1:35 AM PDT
Oh wow! Thanks Mrs Smith. I would never have thought to search for the soundtrack. I loved most of those songs. I am going to iTunes right now. Thanks :)
Posted: 5/1/2010 11:45 PM PDT
Check out amazon.com I know for a fact they have it. Also, buy the c.d.! The broadway version is amazing. It set my heart all a flutter when I saw it. Hell no! is my favorite song. (Itunes sells the songs as well).
Posted: 5/1/2010 11:39 PM PDT
My sister is like that too, however, she's insanely O.C.D. about it. If there is one spelling or punctuation error she won't read it. I understand excessive punctuation errors, but one? Luckily, she's going to school for music production lol.
Posted: 5/1/2010 6:49 PM PDT
Mrs Smith - like you, I liked The Color Purple and have been trying to find the DVD for ages! But I digress: I am an avid reader and cannot stand spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors while reading. If I come across one mistake, I find myself focussing on it incessantly - reading the sentence over and over in the hope that I have just read it wrong. Instantly I lose a smidge of respect for both the author and the editor. I mean if you're good enough to have a book get to the publication stage - shouldn't the draft have been read by many people? I don't know anything about the publication process, but I only assume that the author has given their draft to at least one other person before the publisher. Haven't they?
While rating pages on this site, I often come across errors and I simply can't go on. I'm sorry if that is harsh, but it's me. There should be a small comment section on each review - just to allow a quick note about why we don't like it. I think that would be very beneficial to the up-and-coming authors.
Posted: 4/29/2010 9:46 PM PDT
To be honest, my gasp on the "mechanics essential to the english language" is subpar. I read often, yes, but if you asked what an adverb is I'd shake my head and offer you some tea. That being I said, I suppose I should feel embarrassed at the very least, but I'm a big believer in "does it sound like crap danielle?", "can other people actual understand what you're stepping in?". Seems to work for me. I'm by no means on my way to becoming an English professor, and I agree that this up and coming generation has trouble with combining a limited amount of words to create a decent sentence, but look at what they're reading. I don't remember ever cracking open an english book, but I remember reading over 200 books in a matter of 8 months. If parents read more to their children they would create not only avid readers, but excellent writers as well.
Plus, if we had more "The color purple", and less "twilight", the world would be a better place...
ok, ok, I'D be a happier person which inturn means the world would be a better place (lol).
Posted: 4/28/2010 4:16 AM PDT
I have read a couple of hundred first pages now, but I am staggered by the proportion of hopefuls who do not know grammar, how to spell and/or how to punctuate. Some titles have spelling errors! Frequently you spot four mistakes in those first four lines. Time to stop reading and click tot the next one...
Posted: 1/12/2010 4:28 AM PST
I was just kidding. Of course grammar doesn't matter when you are making up a story, but if you want to go professional and you expect your story to be published, you can't send in something with spelling and grammar flaws all over. Your story could be the best, but the way it's written down, the shape, is just as important when you go professional. Otherwise it will be good, but still just a hobby (nothing wrong with that, I never sent in something myself).
Posted: 1/12/2010 2:02 AM PST
Substitute math teacher. :P
Posted: 1/11/2010 8:50 AM PST
Posted: 1/11/2010 1:19 AM PST
Posted: 1/10/2010 12:02 PM PST
I agree with HM. Haha! I have the last say!
Posted: 1/10/2010 11:53 AM PST
Can't we all just get along? (said with tongue in cheek)
I guess my 'rant' would be... anyone can learn to write 'correctly' but good grammar does not a good story make.
That is what editors/proof readers and friends are for, right?
I love to story tell, period. My grammar/spelling is not the greatest. With that said, it was a fear that kept me from doing more than scribble my stories down and then hide them.
If only those with perfect grammar wrote books we would be pretty limited in our options. Also, since I write for the YA/cross over genre, a lot of the rules go right out the window. As someone else stated, that generation almost speaks its own language and has its own set of rules, or non rules.
I guess I just wanted to point out a possible other view/take on this. New writers (like me) need encouragement. :)
Posted: 1/7/2010 7:46 AM PST
I found the best site ever xD
Posted: 10/24/2009 12:39 AM PDT
How it works is that editors in publishing houses don't edit anymore. If you can't spell and do not understand grammar, they don't want your work. Sending something like that in is unprofessional and publishers only want professional writers.
Posted: 10/23/2009 5:34 AM PDT
Many years ago I saw a lecture given by a film director to film students, and the first and main thing he said was:
Become Technically Competent. Because for a naturally creative person to become technically competent is just a question of putting in the hours and graft, but for a naturally technical person to become creatively gifted... well, you've either got that or you haven't.
English grammar isn't taught in my country (until I started teaching it to others I'd no idea of the difference between a second conditional and a relative clause), but surely you pick this stuff up if you read regularly? If you're not reading, what are doing trying to write?
I've got a bit sick of putting 'grammar/spelling polish needed' in my feedback, not least because some of it is easily fixable if you use a decent word processor. Having said that, of course, a lot of professionally published writers are apparently shocking at spelling etc, they just leave it to their editor to catch...
Posted: 10/17/2009 4:16 PM PDT
No one should stop writing. As concerns proper grammar and breaking the rules, that''s okay if your ego demands it. If you know you're the greatest writer that's ever been born and that people want to read your work whatever form it's in, even on used toilet paper, then by all means do it. As long as you only want to showcase your work on WEBook and some of the other internet writing sites.
However, if you ever want to be taken as a serious writer, if you ever want to be professional writer, if you ever want to be published in the real world, then you better learn how to spell, how to edit your own work, how grammar works. Why? I suppose it's because publishers have standards and if you won't meet their minimum standards, you aren't going to be published let alone make any money. None. Nada. Nix. Nope. No way, Jose. Not a damned cent.
Turn your back on those of us who have learned the hard way how to write, who are still learning how because it's a never ending classroom, who are willing to give you our knowledge and help for free, and you're cutting your own throat and wrists. You'll bleed out and die as a writer. You'll castrate yourself. You'll end up bitter and angry and self-obsessed and hating everyone who has learned how to write or has been or will be published and not know why others can't recognize your brilliance.
Besides which, you'll find that most readers are turned off by bad grammar and bad spelling--BECAUSE THEY CAN'T UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE TRYING TO SAY AND DON'T GET YOUR STORY!
And one thing else. No one not stoned out of their skull is going to read your writing if it's on soiled toilet paper.
Posted: 10/17/2009 3:05 PM PDT
I would never in a million years tell any writer to stop writing or to give up writing. That's absolutely not my right and I do believe that everyone has that spark to tell their story. However, if people want their stories to be READ by more than just those who know them personally, then proper grammar and all that should be taken into account. If they want to really succeed with their writing, it's a simple fact that many, many people - I would dare say the majority - are going to be instantly and irrevocably turned off by grammar that blurs the story. Write what you want, however you want, but be prepared to accept the fact that you're driving readers away. If you write for YOU, wonderful. But if you write for yourself AND want to try to reach other people, write so that they will understand it.
As well, "rules are there to be brokken..." as it was so stated earlier in the thread is not always the correct way to go. Stream-of-consciousness was also mentioned as kind of stepping outside the boundaries but one thing needs to be made clear about that: that style is done with a POINT in mind. It's meant to show the inner workings of a character's mind. THAT is a perfectly reasonable use of "brekking" the rules (and yes, I am misspelling that word mockingly). However, if one was to read a story about, say, two girls talking about going to a dance and the boys that might be there and if the story reads in a stream-of-consciousness style, it MAY be possible that it was written that way to show some greater purpose...but it was more than likely written that way because the writer simply didn't understand - or worse, didn't care about - grammatical conventions.
That leads me to the last point I have on this subject. Not understanding proper grammatical and spelling techniques isn't GOOD, but it can be understood and worked on, especially in respect to younger writers who may not have the experience writing all that much yet. However, it is an entirely different - and much more disturbing - thing when writers hear feedback designed to help them improve their writing (especially getting away from that PLAGUE of text speak - the person who created that style should die horribly) and they not only ignore it but actively REFUSE to learn and grow out of those errors. I've even had one particular writer say that she had been taught to ignore grammar and spelling and all that in first drafts by her TEACHERS. That profoundly saddened me as a writer and as a student.
To sum up, I'd never tell anyone to stop writing, but if they want to SUCCEED as writers, it may be in their best interests to learn and adapt to grammatical conventions. That's...about all I have on this.
Posted: 9/25/2009 3:05 PM PDT
First you need to put the project information in the right forum :
Introduce your project:
You have already started leaving feedback, a great start. You should also look for projects where the authors interests are similar to yours (crime drama, action adventure, etc.) and review their work, also send them a private message asking them to look at yours. If you see someone who gives goo or great feedback, seek them out also :)
and welcome fellow bronxite :O)
Posted: 9/25/2009 10:04 AM PDT
I'm new here. I've just posted my novel on Webook; GREAT FAMILIES ALSO DIE by Mim Poplees. Can someone tell me how to get other writers to critique it? Where do I go? I'm open to any suggestions.
Posted: 9/22/2009 1:42 PM PDT
education is the key not grmmer (ha) you can xpress yourself any which way you feel irvin welsh is a good example. rules are there to be brokken...
Posted: 9/21/2009 12:16 AM PDT
I don't know who wrote "a good story is more important than fantastic feats of grammar," but it's BS. Good grammar is part of a good story. Good grammar is good communication. Without it, most stories are crap.
The one true exception, which doesn't contradict my previous statement, is dialogue. People speak all the time with poor grammar. A character might say something like: "You did good" or "I done did it" and that's okay, because it's characterization. Prose requires good grammar. And lots and lots of editing.
Posted: 9/20/2009 5:03 PM PDT
Master Edit will improve any manuscript. It is software worth checking out.
Posted: 9/15/2009 1:48 PM PDT
Gross Footnote of cartera1's post::
Too concerned with grammar? Taking on an Ivory Tower elitist standpoint?
Take up a career in Editing.
Afraid to write?
Do it anyway!
Posted: 8/20/2009 6:35 AM PDT
There is difference between creative side of us, and the business side. Creative side would drive the imagination to write and the business would be '' pay some professional to bring it to standards''. Creator does not need to be perfect. How many artists we cherish today who never went to school!
Posted: 8/19/2009 1:20 PM PDT
C'mon folks. Where are we heading with this thread?
The thread started off with cris de coeurs from folk who wanted to write and know more about grammar. Fears were expressed that the lack of grammatical knowledge was inhibiting their picking up of the pen.
Contributions came in that were aimed at helping and encouraging them. The main thrust of these contributions was that the grammatically worried should not wait until they was grammatically learned before tackling writing. (Deliberate, before you have an orgasm)
If people want to say something about their feelings, life and the world they live in, and want to do it via the written medium - great. What each of us has to say is of equal validity and must be expressed in the language - call it patois, dialect or whatever - that he or she is most comfortable with,, mis-spelled or not. If she or he goes on to learn more about words and their uses and usage this means that more tools are available to her/him to help express as accurately as possible what it is she/he wants to get over to anyone reading their words.
Many people have not grown up in homes with magazines and books available. Many are put off writing, and indeed, speaking, because of a fear that he or she may appear crass ( grossly stupid - Oxford Dictionary) Perhaps she/he has encountered a poor teacher, there are lots of them around.
Yet here we are telling the enquirers via this thread that ' to ignore etymology and the various word roots and deep structures of language is crass.' Come off it.
This is a rather elitist position that aids those who use language and words as a preserve for the fooling classes.
How many published authors are aware of etymology, word roots and deep structures of language? Not too many I would say.
I repeat what I have said earlier: if you want to: don't be afraid, just write. Keep it as simple and clear as you can.
Next, turn on to words: enjoy them, take a pride in your knowledge of them, including teh etymology of them. Find yourself an etymology dictiuonary, some of the older ones are like enyclopedias.
Get deeper into it; learn the grammatical tricks: they're not difficult to learn, taken a little at a time.
Join a writer's group if you can that is an encouraging one.
Read. Read poetry as well as prose. But, above all . . .
P.S. For those unsure as to what 'stream of consciousness' is, it is just the writing down of the thoughts in a character's head as they may appear/sound to him/her. Old-time American gangster books are full of it. As is James Joyce, of course. There is nothing to be frightened of: Just get inside your character's head and omit pronouns. It is difficult to sustain as usually simple sets of words (prose) is needed to move the story along. Personally, I like the technique. See: (Deliberate . . as above, for example)
Just write. It'll come.
Posted: 8/19/2009 12:58 AM PDT
Yay! A place of kindred spirits is finally found. I'm with most of you guys on this, and I can understand not being able to read while you write; but to not love to read and only like to write is beyond me.
I definitely agree with the statements about other fiction sites from fictionpress to fanfiction to others which must remain nameless due to the PG-13 level.
My commas are my weakest point I think. I don't mind bad grammar as long as an attempt at grammar was made. It's the people that write in continuous lower case with no punctuation that drive me up the wall.
I thought Eats, Shoots, & Leaves was some sort of strange commentary book about politics. Now that I know it's not it will jump up my list of non fiction books to read.
I'm also a ESL teacher, but in Korea rather than China.
Posted: 8/13/2009 8:37 AM PDT
Yes. I know Joyce first experimented with stream of consciousness. Anyone who's had to study English lit or creative writing know this. I used faulkner as my example because I actually read some of Faulkner's and after only reading sections of Ulysses (how do you underline here?), I've pretty much decided Joyce is not my style. I'm not a big fan of stream of consciousness, myself. I'm not of a minimalist in my writing.
I never said that writers shouldn't know the rules of grammar (and story creating/writing, for that matter). I just said that sometimes, the form a piece of literature takes is a practical choice the writer makes.
That said, yes, writers should learn grammar. They should also learn the -other- general rules for story writing. Dialogue tags for example. And for the love of god, a person is not a "that".
Posted: 8/11/2009 9:08 AM PDT
James Joyce was the author who first experimented with 'stream of consciousness' and it is possible that you are talking about either 'Ulysses' or 'Finnegan's Wake'. The Wake is a very difficult book to read, especially if you cannot place any of his references. I experiment with that form sometimes, but you do need to understand what you are doing. Both Faulkner and Joyce could write standard English whenever they wished. There are new authors from Africa and India who use English in idiosyncratic ways but write excellent fiction.
I believe that Joyce is still banned in some catholic countries.
Posted: 8/11/2009 7:06 AM PDT
I see your point, but sometimes, the form of the fiction can excuse the grammar or lack thereof, like stream of consciousness. In The Sound and the Fury, Faulkner even completely removed punctuation in certain passages and it read beautifully. It's hard to explain, I think but the very action of stream of consciousness is so fluid that the form the writing takes can actually mimic the meaning of the words.
There are other books where the typing in the book disintegrates as a character's mind unravels. I wish I could proved you with the actual name of the author who first challenged the writing community and the book of his I had to read in that Forms of Fiction class, but after I finished reading it, I tried to burn the book from my memory. It's all very new-agey and experimental, BUT it is considered to be a perfectly acceptable thing to do as long as the story justifies it.
Posted: 8/11/2009 3:12 AM PDT
Language should be appropriate to the occasion; you vary it according to the context and circumstances. If you wish to study at university or belong to one of the professions then, whatever your background, you learn standard English and the rules of grammar. If you wish to be a writer then you almost certainly love language in all its forms and collect dialects and vernacular speech in order to be able to use examples in your work.
I do not claim to be a writer or a poet but I find speech patterns fascinating and the emergence of new 'underclass' slang, patois or 'thieves cant' is part of that vital process, but to ignore etymology and the various word roots and deep structures of language is crass, and I fear it would limit the scope of a writer.
Posted: 8/11/2009 3:01 AM PDT
A good reason is because many people talk like.. hye d00d cya l8r ..
Posted: 8/10/2009 3:00 PM PDT
You've provided your own answer: Clarity at all times. To confuse the reader is a cardinal sin. Simplicity is the key; even if Simplicity means writing a new sentence then that is what should be done. Two simple sentences is better than a long and potentially confusing one.
There are ways of avoiding your problem but one would have to see a sample in order to illustrate them.
But for starters try dropping all pronouns at he start of any sentence, including The and A. Again it depends on the piece, but often this gets the reader inside the head of the character more intensely.
Posted: 8/10/2009 2:50 PM PDT
Thanks for the view expressed.
Just keep writing and reading above all else.
In reference to the previous posting I say do not be lazy when correcting any pieces. But do not worry to the point where the use of the grammar is more important than the content and thrust of the written piece. Even I let a few errors slip past in my posting. True, but I mean it jokingly.
The trick is to regard words and grammar as tools in your toolbag. As far as words are concerned the more you have in there the more you can choose the proper tool for the job. Just as you would not use a Philips screwdriver when a flat-blade screwdriver is required so you at least aim to choose the mot juste. Turn on to words and get them into that toolbag. But worry about word-choice only after you have at least got something down. Write first then edit and improve later.
Poetry is good to analyse in order to see how the poet has used only a few words to create emotions and pictures. I recommend the poem The Listeners by a modern poet. Ask yourself what era you are in and why you think that.
Listen to people reading on the radio or CDs. I nearly said cassettes. What you are listening for is the full stop and the new sentence and the new paragraph. These folk convey this with their voices.
As far as grammar is concerned, read about it, talk about it, ask about it, but do not get too hung up on it. If one wishes to study grammar then one goes to University and does so in one's Ivory Tower and there one talks to other tower dwellers about matters grammatical. Meanwhile a million stories are being lived out below. For most writers a little understanding of the proper where or hows of using the basic grammar tools is enough. I have suggested the three main grammatical tools, but I have to admit the comma is handy, but, I repeat, not deadly. just think of it as the narrator taking a breath.
In fact, think of the comma as a short breath (pause), the full stop as longer, but still short breath (pause).
Note the space between paragraphs is a longer breath/ pause again. Now you have it.
If you want to use these in your writing, read your material to yourself in the voice that you hear in your head and put them in accordingly - after you've written your piece. Write. Write . Write. It'll come. Don't fret.
What the hell, with the comma that's only four.
Anyhoo, that's enough for now. Must write.
Thanks again for your comment.
Posted: 8/10/2009 4:34 AM PDT
Simple errors aside, the hardest things to catch can be the most overlooked by the writers. I sometimes have to read over my work 3 or 4 times just to see where the pronoun placement went wrong, or if I'm jumping too much through time. I can stand reading through difficult material, and I sympathize that grammatical errors can break my concentration, but sometimes they add to the character or to the plot.
I don't think there is a grammatical checker born yet that could detect misplaced pronouns. For instance, If I'm talking about how my father met a guy and he said they shouldn't have met...
That type of thing happens all the time, and only the reader will know by his/her own confusion. Then again, even though it is grammatically correct to use I,me,my, too much of those can lead to a very distracting piece. I enjoy using every word possible when referring to people in my story, and that requires me to sometimes shift point of view. The hardest thing I've found is to try and keep the pronouns changing.
Posted: 8/9/2009 9:20 PM PDT
I make a lot of errors. Not proof reading, typing too quickly, pure laziness sometimes.
Posted: 8/9/2009 4:30 PM PDT
Wow, just breezing through your post makes me feel elated in my choice to pursue a writing hobby. I love the 3 points made explaining the bare essentials in expressing your story on paper.
Posted: 8/9/2009 2:00 PM PDT
My original Reply may have read as if it was aimed at you in particular. I really was aiming at the general readership, and particualrly those folk who put their concerns and worriesabout bloody grammar in to the group. (These worries are generally inherited from school and the publishing media)
Keep writing and reading and helping.
Posted: 8/9/2009 1:49 PM PDT
Yes, Karen, it is sometimes difficualt to stck with a story when one's critical grammarian voice keeps interrupting the flow. But at least there is writing being done and is to be encouraged.
If the written word is confined to those who understand and use grammar well, then an awful lot of people are being denied a voice. What people have to say is what is important, and since those who do not adhere to the rules of grammar - set eons ago by the English ruling class - tend to be the poorest; it is therefore the voices of the poor that are restrained by feelings on inadequacy in regard to the English language.
The sociological and political reasons for this are many, and need to be articulated by those experiencing their consequences.
Yet to be published today generally means one has to write in 'proper' English, at least in the prose sections of one's writing.
This means the lives of many people are not being articulated.
The main thing for anyone with something to say, or just has an itch to put pen to paper, is to write - regardless. If, in order to reach a wider audience, one feels the need to 'improve' one's English, then go to it and learn a little more of the academic 'rules' of grammar. This group is good way to start as far as I can see, with lots of people like Karen willing to pitch in and help uncritically.
Thanks to the web, and sites such as this one, one can be fairly sure that one's writing is reaching some reader, and, who knows, lighting a bulb or two.
Putting my teaching where my mouth is for anyone that feels she/he needs it: basically anyone can produce 'good' grammatical writing simply by knowing three things:
1. Where/Why does a Capital letter go there?
2. Where/Why does a full stop/period go there?
3. Where/Why do we introduce a new paragraph there?
The rest is necessary only for decoration and style. Many people stick in all sorts of grammatical devices into their writing that does exactly as you,Karen, suggest: it messes it up. One must keep it simple until one is really confident. Once confident, a person can play around with the writing and establish one's own 'voice'. This is something that may take a long time.
As for spelling; no-one can really help another with spelling: use the dictionary, not the spellcheck, learn to love a Thesaurus, use a chosen new word at least five times every day, and be proud every time you use it , and play the little word games in the newspapers. Basically: we love words and are proud of your increasing abilities with them.
And write. Just write. What any of us has to say is as valid as any other person's view - although mine more than most of course.
Posted: 8/1/2009 1:27 AM PDT
I hear you! I sometimes feel I've missed my calling as an editor because when I see errors they jump out at me and distract me but I guess I shouldn't be so fussy and concentrate more on the quality and flow of the writing but then again, the errors mess both of those up! lol
Posted: 7/31/2009 12:33 AM PDT
Please define 'proper grammar' for me. The term used by linguists tends to be 'appropriate', depending the circumstances. The 'rules' laid down by Victorian grammarians are actually based on a fallacious understanding of 'English' as a language. One argument states that it is impossible for any native speaker to use English ungrammatically, but the 'grammar' may be in the form of a dialect, rather than 'standard' English.
Posted: 7/30/2009 5:12 PM PDT
I'm not seen any proper grammar on this entire post. It's funny and sad at the same time.
Posted: 7/13/2009 11:17 AM PDT
I didn't know what Leet was until I read this forum. So imagine my surprise when I completely understood your sentence. Okay. That's all.
Posted: 7/1/2009 6:33 PM PDT
Another point I would like to add is most people know that state wide appitutide test is clutraly bias and many schools districts are lacking the very resources to pass the test. At least if the school systems are going to have this test at least make it fair. Which we all know it is not. HOw can this test determine wheter or not you will be able to attend college. That alone is wrong and those that agree with such testing are igrant and only known one school of thought. . Yes, as I mention I am not very good with spelling so please pardon me.
Posted: 7/1/2009 6:26 PM PDT
The problem lies with Public School Education... Many school districts throughout the USA do not teach proper grammar so many are left to defend for themselves more or less to find other forms of resources. The Public School System needs to be revamp. Thing have sure changed and not for the better. Children are often being robbed of good education simply because they are learning for the stupid statewide appittiude test and not for life..And the good teachers are not allow to teach because they have to teach for the stupid test. Which clearly is no indication of measuring ones intellegence. All that is clearly shows is wheter or not a person can take test. There are many smart people who cannot take a test. The real test, if you are able to apply the knowlege that ones knows at their job that is true test. In my humble opion reasearch papers and projects show weather or not a person understands the material and subject mater not a test. It is ture that in life we are all going to be tested and evaluated for our work or lack their of. Life is full of test.
So, that is partically the issue that has been circulating throughout many of the schools in the USA. It saddens me what is going on in to days schools. It is worse then when i was going to school. Things have got change!!!!!!!!!! Yes, I agree to a certain extent that people should look at the context and the grammar however, if ones preffession is a writer than it would wise to know the english language and the mechanics, because I have some issues with grammar myself and i would hate to read something that is full grammatical erros and spelling mistakes because that will definatly not improve my writing skills. In other words, if one reads something and it grammatically incorrect weather or not the context is good it hard to improve upon your spelling if words constantly either being misused, out of context or mispelled . I also have an issue with spelling and in order for me to improve upon my spelling is reading materials with correct grammar and spelling. Once again, I do agree that people should pay more attention to the context of the story and not so much of grammar because that would definately take a way from the meaning of the story. However, it would be ideal to use proper grammar and the correct usage of words, snytic, and correct spelling.
Posted: 6/22/2009 6:03 PM PDT
I agree Editors make the money they do because the rest of us are not able to do their job. If we were all perfect in our grammar, where would they be. Let them have their work?????
Posted: 6/18/2009 7:40 PM PDT
I love to read yet I am horrible at grammar and spelling. I have my wife help with those areas more then I would like to admit. I am not saying I wouldn't mind learning how to fix these issues but as I write, attend school, work, raise my children and play video games in which all help with my ideas and imagination. I just skip over these deficiencies.
Editors make money for reasons and I guess I will just have to pay these people yet I do appreciate the help. :)
Posted: 3/18/2009 2:02 AM PST
The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr., E.B. White
On Writing by Steven King
Posted: 3/16/2009 2:06 PM PST
The best (and easiest) way to learn grammar? Read. Read lots and lots of books, and you'll become better. When you read, your mind automatically notices the sentence structure, and the spelling of words, and stores it away. I personally have lots of trouble identifying parts of sentences, but I can spell them right and am a fairly good writer. I read a new book every day, and that's my secret. I don't know what I'd do without books...
Posted: 2/28/2009 1:54 AM PST
I suspect that the best way to learn the rules of grammar is to study a foreign language. Latin might be the best for English grammar, because of the effect that it had on the Victorian grammarians and because it is dead, immutable, frozen in time, but is the source of all the romance languages. However, if you want to actually use the language you might do better toi choose one still in use. Alternatively, linguistics helps you to understand how language works and how it evolves.
My suggestion would be to join an evening class, you might enjoy the experience as well as gaining a better understaning of language. Study usually is more effective when shared with others. If this is impossible there are many books on stylistics, linguistics, etymology and basic grammar.
Posted: 2/27/2009 1:20 PM PST
Well everyone here is pretty strict on grammar. I'm not the best at it and I need to be better. Is there a great book or website that could help me learn grammar better? Any recommendations would be great!
Posted: 2/21/2009 3:05 PM PST
That is pretty bad.
What really bothers we is when someone capitalizes every single word misuses apostrophes. There's not even an apostrophe on "DONT WALK" signs.
Posted: 2/19/2009 7:37 PM PST
I don't know about you, but I've never cried at a book because the author knows how to use punctuation really well.
Posted: 2/12/2009 9:25 PM PST
I think you are all stereotyping the average high school student.
Granted, some can't point out a verb or define a synonym, but most students do know how to and that's why they stream English classes.
The lower classes spend more time on basic grammar and others do 500 word essays, and that is a standard Australian 9th grade class.
Rachael, 8th grade.
Posted: 2/4/2009 2:26 PM PST
A comment on several posts that mentioned public education and how we learn to write:
I went to a small rural high school but read voraciously from grade school through college. I can not remember having had any courses in grammar, but I must have had some in elementary school. My high school English teacher was bored with grammar, so he taught us literature for 4 years.
After a career change, about a quarter of my work now is writing and reviewing the writing of others. I believe that reading widely and fifteen years of responding to reviewers and editors has improved my writing more effectively than any class work could have.
That doesn't give proper credit to effort. I critiqued a young writers work at a science fiction web site recently, and found that I had spent 2 hours to revise the first 2 paragraphs and craft an e-mail to the author. I know it took that long because my wife harangued me about the time I spent on it. It occurred to me later that I spent more time on those paragraphs than the author had.
To paraphrase the last line of one of the most beautiful passages in the language (1 Corinthians 13) on learning to write; "And now reading, criticism, and work abide, these three; and the greatest of these is _______ (Please take your pick, although any 1 without the others is limited.)
Posted: 2/4/2009 1:34 AM PST
Language evolves over time, and so long as it is appropriate to the circumstances then changes to syntax and spelling are acceptable. The problem is that there is a generation coming through the educational system that seems to believe that txt language is appropriate in all circumstances. This is obviously not true in formal reports, term papers, dissertations and theses. If you write a program then you have to keep to the correct syntax or the compiler will not run it. If you write a proof in formal logic then you have to put it into the correct form.
Surely it is not too much to ask for written English to keep to the appropriate form for the message that is being transmitted and the audience it is intended to reach?
Posted: 2/3/2009 12:14 PM PST
Whew. Finally caught up on here...
I'm sure many schools have journalism clubs, or newspaper classes, or something else similar. But these things can only do so well. For example, my school has a journalism class; they were the ones that produced the school newspaper. But, despite the fact that the English teacher was heading up the effort, and despite the fact that it was a NEWSPAPER, there were always hundreds of spelling and grammar mistakes made that got past the teacher. Our yearbooks were worse.
So, it is one thing to have a club or organization, but if the people involved don't know or care much about how they write, they won't learn.
Posted: 2/3/2009 12:05 PM PST
Having just graduated from public high school about a year ago, I never think it's fair to blame teacher for things. Every year in school, we went over grammar and punctuation. We had to go over it every year because there were many lazy students who did not care enough to take the time to learn it. Certainly the grammar was never really drilled in there, but it was taught. I put in effort to remember beyond the test. I don't think too many of my peers did, though.
Also, consider that a teacher can spend forever teaching a subject, but he/she won't get anywhere unless the students are willing to genuinely learn. That's also one of the reasons why I don't like how standardized test scores are used (in Florida at least) to determine federal funding. The grades aren't a reflection of the teachers' level of teaching; they are a reflection of how lazy the students are or are not.
Posted: 2/3/2009 11:58 AM PST
I suppose this is what happens when you get busy with college and don't drop by for a while...
I enjoy helping people as well. I always try constructive criticism when reading another person's work. The trouble is (and perhaps I just end up being drawn to these particular authors) that when I suggest something, I am called a "hater" or "elitist", or I am told that this is the internet and rules don't apply here. I became so sick of people not caring simply "because it's the internet" I did a research project in 11th grade about how detrimental chatspeak and internet slang can be when people don't care about the context in which they use it. It also bothers me to no end when I receive a set of guidelines for a paper or a project that specifically states one of the rules as not use chatspeak, as though it wasn't obvious.
Certainly, the people belong here. Trouble is, many people that I run into (and again, maybe it's just me and my limited time on the site) are unwilling to accept criticism, unable to understand that I'm trying to help, or uncaring as to how their work sounds. Many people view any form of criticism as a personal attack on their work.
Posted: 1/29/2009 8:59 AM PST
Sad but true. This is from the NY Times last year.
“About one-third of America’s eighth-grade students, and about one in four high school seniors, are proficient writers, according to results of a nationwide test released on Thursday.” (A nice way of saying most are not, and it apparently gets worse in high school.)
However here on the east coast they have stepped up their writing courses, actually offering a separate class for it and have begun ‘journalism’ clubs. Many have started a school newspaper and some have writing competitions, with a few schools publishing a collection of the top writing.
Posted: 1/29/2009 1:13 AM PST
I hear from a friend, who was head of history at one the 'good' American Universities, that they have to teach about half their new intake of students how to write academic essays in their freshman year. In the UK the normal level of literacy and numeracy is also abysmal on entry to tertiary education. However, I feel that part of the problem is widening participation in higher education to students who come from a background that does not have a tradition of studying at this level. If you are brought up in a home without any books, and with parents who do not value intellectual achievements, then you will not be motivated to study for the sake of learning 'of itself', rather than for practical reasons such as remuneration.
In the same way many children from disturbed backgrounds are encouraged to 'express their creativity' rather than to learn the intricacies of syntax and the craft of writing. The people who teach them feel that the benefits of getting them to express their feelings should be encouraged, rather than have a proper marking system in place to teach the elements of grammar and style. This creates a dichotomy, on sites such as WEbooks, between the types of writers you find there, and the quality of the work submitted.
Posted: 1/27/2009 3:11 PM PST
Hah! I dropped the U. Thank you very much!
... and it's just an example. If I was writing that, an evil dragon would then come destroy the castle.
Posted: 1/27/2009 7:52 AM PST
I33@+1I=I_II_ ? .......Check your spelling Wolfgunnison!
It still sounds cule LOL
Posted: 1/27/2009 7:06 AM PST
When someone is a writer, and more specifically, a writer online, what gives others first impressions? How do we judge that someone when we first see them?
Spelling, grammar, and capitalization.
When we see:
"hey im making a new book it's called dragonduel. its about a guy who fins a dragon egg and rases it to be his own dragon. then a drk lord want's to steel the dragon because its a speical dragon. the other dragon's protect the young dragon, tohugh, and the dark lord is beat and the man who fond the egg has to trane to become powrful for the next time they fihgt."
It's like talking to a smelly, not recently cleansed punk wearing ratty clothes who is obviously high on some drug - who is also breathing through their mouth and staring at you vacantly. While listening to ugly metal music on an Ipod without bothering to take the speakers out of his/her already damaged ears.
(I realize that was a fragment, but it was added in such a state for a certain effect. I am not that incompetent.)
It's like... "yuck." *edging away, attempting to be polite*
Put very simply, though, using correct spelling and grammar is like making sure you take a bath, put on deoderant, brush your teeth, comb your hair, and wear clean clothes that don't have all sorts of holes and the like in them.
It's the only first impression you can make online or in writing.
I know I, for one, will not visit someone's project if they can't bother to ask you to visit it in correct spelling and grammar. The project is likely much worse than the short "hay com see my book its cool LOL... etcetera."
If no one's going to bother with spelling, grammar, and capitalization, I might as well write a story in Leet.
0/\/(3 |_|p0/\/ /-\ +1/\/\3 1/\/ 4 |33@+1|=|_||_ (@$+|_3 +|-|3P\3 |_1\/3|) /-\ PP\1/\/(3$$... 3+(3+3P\4...
Notice that my spelling was still correct. LOL!
And chat language is ruining our culture. But I shalln't rant on that today. I think we all know that, all too well...
And, yes, that LOL up there was sarcastic, if you couldn't tell.
Posted: 1/1/2009 7:05 PM PST
When I hit "Reply", I thought it might show who I was replying to. I guess it didn't. I went through the whole thread, and I was replying to past comments.
One thing I'd like to add is that it amuses me when people comment on another's work and say, "There are grammer problems." That one drives me nuts! The one I just recently read really DID have grammAr problems, but the comment just drives me batty!
Posted: 1/1/2009 6:29 PM PST
I completely agree with you on receiving "constructive criticism"! I believe whole-heartedly that if something is not up to par, it should be adressed. I don't want someone coddling me as I strive to become better. I want someone to tell me the dirty truth. I'll be thrilled if all I receive is praise, but I also want to hear the comments of people who might have some insight as to how I can better myself and my writing.
Not everything I have read here thrills me. I have left mostly good comments because the works I've chosen to read have been mostly good. There have been a couple I came across that were so horribly thrown together that I couldn't help but only read, and comment on, the first half of the chapter. One I think of, in particular, was a long comment on basically the entire short chapter on what could better it. It was a lovely concept, but poorly executed. Now I just try to stick to commenting on stories that aren't so poorly written that I have nothing nice to say.
Before I submit something for commenting, I have hit the "spell check", fixed all the misspelled words, and read it at least 3 times. At that point, I am submitting it for comments to point out what I might have missed or what I can do to better it.
Posted: 1/1/2009 6:07 PM PST
I have to agree with your comment about the public school system in Florida! I live in Florida, but went to school (both public and private) in Massachusetts. I finished my last two years of high school in Florida. I ended with a 4.0 GPA as a Senior and the highest grade in my English IV class.
I attribute all my knowledge of English and grammar to Massachusetts' higher standards of education. It is a big reason why I chose to send my daughter to a private school here that will hopefully help her excel in education instead of just doing the bare minimum required to graduate.
It PAINS me to read misspelled words that are so simple I learned them in elementary school! The misuse of the words "they're" (ie. They're going to the store.) , "their" (ie. Their clothes are worn.), and "there" (ie. There are no stores here.)is probably my biggest pet peeve!
I also believe that one of the biggest reasons for Florida being at the bottom of the food chain regarding quality of education is that, at one time, it was a place to retire. The voters were elderly, and their biggest concern was Social Security. Now, there are many more people that have children living in Florida, and there needs to be a better education system set for those children. Not just Florida, but the entire country!
Posted: 12/27/2008 5:04 PM PST
This guest's complaint is easy to sidestep. If we are annoyed by the poor grammar or spelling errors in a piece of writing, we have the option of noting it, suggesting improvements or we can skip it. I find that many of the same people read my work and I read theirs because we share an expectation of submitting high quality efforts. That is a benefit of investing time in becoming familiar with the WeBook community. Yes, there are many people contributing who are careless, but when they realize that kind of work attracts very little feedback, they might be motivated to get things polished up before they post for review. If not, they wind up working in a group of people with similar skills to their own. If they submit something to a group project, the project manager has the discretion to drop their contribution or return it for revision.
Posted: 12/27/2008 4:44 PM PST
I fail to see why a writer would not take on board the comments that readers leave. I love feedback pointing out my grammatical errors because fixing them makes my work that much stronger. Why post at all if you do not want to listen to feedback you receive?
Posted: 12/27/2008 1:15 PM PST
I just joined the community, and read a couple of projects. I was thinking I'd probably never visit again, simply because consistently poor grammar indicates to me (accurate or not) that someone doesn't take their writing seriously. Regardless of whether that's true, it certainly isn't what I'm looking for in a writing community. Meh, I don't mean to sound all snobby; the poor grammar just really rubbed me the wrong way.
I decided to stop by the forums before writing WeBook off (so to speak), and found this thread.
Posted: 12/20/2008 5:51 PM PST
The majority of the writers here are younger people, hence I've suggested that sentence fragments and adverbs are bad. I realize these do have a place in writing, I just thing writers should learn how to crawl before they try and walk.
Posted: 12/20/2008 11:21 AM PST
I don't mind some bad grammar, because a lot of the time, the writer doesn't even know that they're making a mistake.
The test for me is whether they take suggestions and corrections on board, and are willing to learn and improve, or whether they just go off on an "I no whut im doin and its my writing not urs and i dnt care abt speling and grammer i write real emotions which is more imprtnt than grammar!!!!!" rant.
I think I need to go scrub myself in scalding water after writing that.
Posted: 12/20/2008 10:54 AM PST
A lot of the people on Webook are young. That really is not an excuse, though. The problem must be that teachers today don't take grammar seriously enough. If they plan to be writers they will learn soon enough that they must learn grammar. It will be so much harder for them because they allowed themselves to develope bad habits for years. My teachers never drilled grammar into my skull, so I had to learn the hard way, and I still am learning.
Posted: 12/16/2008 1:56 PM PST
It's not just teenagers who'll take a shortcut provided to them. If you can speak the language, text can be fun and entertaining, but it doesn't belong in a professional setting. There are plenty of adults who will throw in the occasional "thnx" or "lol." As long as it stays put in text messages, chat rooms, and some comments texting's not harming anyone.
Posted: 12/16/2008 1:50 PM PST
Thanks so much. I feel like I've founud a kindred spirit. Bad grammar and spelling grates on my mind like nails on a chalkboard. I absolutely can't tolerate it. I have to bite myself back when I'm commenting on most of the stories I have to read. I've read some that are just perfection...but weeding through the mediocre to find something that actually touches the soul and mind is a very difficult thing to do.
Posted: 12/15/2008 7:35 PM PST
Oh I'm not referring to you specifically, but most of this thread is slanted in that direction.
Posted: 12/15/2008 7:24 PM PST
Who said anything about telling them they suck or to "get another hobby?"
Not this kid.
Posted: 12/15/2008 7:20 PM PST
True and I certainly don't do that either but if that's the case I don't mind sending them a message saying, "Hey you should clean up your grammar to improve readability." If they decide not to take advice like that, then they have to suffer the consequence of possibly not being as well received. On the same token I've read some grammatically impeccable total crap and it's a hell of a lot more difficult to fix an entirely bad story then it is to clean up bad grammar.
Don't get me wrong. Life is in itself a learning process and one should never stop or feel that, that process has come to an end. I just wouldn't go so far as to say those people who might have some deficits should "find another hobby".
Truth be told and sad but true, the large majority of the people on this website or any other of this slant, will never get within speaking distance of a real editor or publisher, whether their work is polished or not.
People write frequently because they enjoy the act. I take care of a patient who writes using the program, "Dragon Naturally speaking". He has a limited education but is a very nice man. In spite of the fact that I sometimes have to decipher what he has written/spoken I always enjoy his emails. There is a place for every type of writing. That place might not be in publication but what purpose is served by summarily dashing their feelings against the rocks and calling them stupid?
I guess what I'm driving at is that we tend to spend a heck of a lot of time finding various ways to feel superior to others. It's easy to say, over the anonymity of the internet, give it up. You suck. You'll never amount to anything around here and so on. However what purpose does that serve?
Posted: 12/15/2008 6:50 PM PST
I agree, this 'is' where writers belong, so that we can all learn, but the attitude I've come across is: "You just don't understand my work," or "I <3 e e cummings." There's a frightening trend from an entire generation to disregard grammar and to think there's nothing wrong with that.
I don't know about you, but I have a life outside of this website and don't always have the time to go through line after laborious line with the red pen. Funny thing, editors and publishers are the same way.
Hence, my best advice is to strike out on your own, pull out that 6th grade grammar book, and pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.
Posted: 12/15/2008 6:40 PM PST
But that's what we're here for isn't it? To assist those people in refining their work even if those things we suggest pertain only to grammar?
Recently I read a piece of work that seemed like it had potential save for his crutch word (we all have these). I told him and he removed it placing even better words where his crutch words had been. The story was great and imminently readable, post rework.
Call me ever the optimist but I enjoy helping people see those things. I enjoy assisting people in those simple ways. I have read some amazing stories written by teenagers who pay no heed to grammar. This does not make them poor writers it makes them lazy teens. I just don't like the idea of condemning anyone's work based on something that can be fixed with a little editing.
If the question is, "Will they get their book published with grammatical errors?" Then the answer would most likely be, "No".
But if the question is, "Do they belong here at Webook at all?" The answer is a resounding yes, this is exactly where they should be and shame on you for not pointing out the misspelled word or incorrect usage so they can correct it!
:) All in good fun I hope no one takes offense.
Posted: 12/15/2008 6:24 PM PST
You're right, I missed that in your post.
I think it would be great if writers learned the basics first, before they move on to creating their own punctuation, or going with the current style of text speak. Their work would benefit exponentially, I believe.
Just because a whole class of people talk a certain way, doesn't mean that it should be viewed as correct. Class and circumstance is no excuse, either. If people are serious about writing, they should take the time to educate themselves. Otherwise, honestly, they're going to be laughed at when they put their work out there.
I'm not talking about minor things like your previous example, but major things like: when to use a comma or a semi-colon, proper use of quotations, and sentence fragments. I can't tell you how many times I've quit reading something on here because the punctuation was horrid.
Posted: 12/15/2008 5:54 PM PST
I'm sorry perhaps I wasn't clear. I'm talking about punctuated abbreviation. M.D. vs. MD F.Y.I. versus FYI. I was referring to the "." in abbreviations. I was not in anyway debating "abbreviations" but the punctuation that has gone along with it.
Posted: 12/15/2008 5:32 PM PST
errrrr...I hate to break it to you, but:
"Abbreviation has been used as long as phonetic script existed, in some senses actually being more common in early literacy, where spelling out a whole word was often avoided, initial letters commonly being used to represent words in specific application. By classical Greece and Rome, the reduction of words to single letters was still normal, but no longer the default."
Posted: 12/15/2008 2:38 PM PST
Punctuation standards change as well. We're already beginning to accept abbreviations that are not punctuated such as lol and rofl. Not to mention many companies are abbreviating their names, as are popular shows and this is only in the last ten years or so. Before that all abbreviations where punctuated. Also the !!!!!! at the end of sentences has become pretty common place. Everything changes. We just don't like it when it does.
Posted: 12/15/2008 12:54 PM PST
English is a bastardized language, so words will come and go. Punctuation, however, is a different story.
Posted: 12/15/2008 11:55 AM PST
I just read this in an article and felt it germane to the discussion:
And to those who see the rise of like as an assault on proper English and a sign of the decline of civilization, Siegel has this reply:
"People have been saying that about new words for centuries." She cites as evidence the introduction to an early dictionary of English, compiled in 1755 by Samuel Johnson. "He said he was writing the dictionary to refine the language to grammatical purity because we have to listen to the language of the learned. He mentions all the people who speak wrong, and they are porters, herdsmen and girls."
"The language mavens always say, 'Oh, they're wrecking the language.' And it's always girls and working people. But languages change because they need to change. There are so many more girls and working people than there are language mavens." (By EILS LOTOZO Philadelphia Inquirer 2002)
taken from: http://www2.jsonline.com/enter/gen/sep02/71334.asp
Posted: 12/14/2008 10:41 PM PST
Brilliant! Only because I too hope that when people read my work, they will point out my short comings. I love to write, as much as I love to read. And no matter if I am published or not, I still have work to do to be GREAT.
Posted: 12/12/2008 3:07 PM PST
hahahahaha or perhaps HAHAHAHAHA. Depends on who's reading.
Posted: 12/12/2008 12:47 PM PST
English should be capitalized. :)
Posted: 12/10/2008 5:35 PM PST
I agree with what you suggest. I thought that WeBook postings were supposed to be print ready, but that is just not the case. I even saw a project today with spelling errors in the name of the effort. I stop reading most pieces if there are tons of errors in grammar or spelling. It is of no interest to me to waste time on an entry when the author has not taken the time to proofread or spell check the work submitted. I have made an exception in the case of one very interesting writer who is also older. Lynn
Posted: 12/10/2008 12:10 PM PST
I could live without capitals. I wouldn't say I think much about grammar when I'm writing. I go back later and fix things of course as I have time but when I'm writing it's just not something I focus on. Fortunately I do have a grammar Nazi who loves me enough to read through my finished works and make those necessary adjustments. I was pretty much self taught growing up so I really don't spend a lot of time beating myself up about it. I love the act of reading a good tale as well as writing one (Hopefully) and so I trudge on :)
Posted: 12/10/2008 11:44 AM PST
Fiona, it's true that when learning a foreign language the grammar appears more important than it had in an English class. I taught Spanish I & II for 25 years and found myself enlightening students who were unaware that their English grammar class demanded the same learning as the Spanish grammar. I think our schools and maybe the teachers who teach English don't find unique ways to present the message, so the kids close their minds. In my classes all Spanish words HAD to be spelled correctly or the answer was incorrect. Just putting pressure and demanding proficiency is important.
As to those of you who agree that writers just want to write are ones who are trying to get the words out of their heads. I agree that first they should use another source like WORD to put the entry together, then read so the rhythm can be established. I doubt some of the younger writers have ever thought to read their own work aloud. We all make mistakes when we're in a hurry to share our writings with others. But when there's no attempt to correct......
Now, how interested are the "powers that be" who control what gets published? Do they demand better writing in the final analysis? I'd like to know.
Posted: 12/9/2008 9:16 PM PST
I think I felt that way at first, and then I had a professional editor edit one of my chapters, and I learned so much. She was kind, but without knocking the wind out of my sails. She really more "proof-read" than anything, and once she did that, I was able to go back and look at my work and find a lot of mistakes on my own.
I critiqued a chapter of a young man's book the other day, and told him some of the same things my editor had told me. This poor young man had so many misspelled words, and errors, I was frank with telling him that in order to have someone want to read what he'd written, he needed to clean up his work. I'd guessed that he was just writing quickly, and getting the story out....not checking for errors, and I was right. Be that as it may, I think my taking the time to go through with him on that one chapter made a difference in his perspective.
My point being, we all gain so much more from taking time to teach others. WEBook is a community, and no matter how advanced we are, we are very much students along the path. Some of us are more advanced than others. I believe we all benefit by helping eachother along the way.
Posted: 12/7/2008 1:14 PM PST
I think the worst incident I have run into was... I was reviewing someone's work (without looking at their age or anything like that) and had assumed the author was quite young based on how poor the grammar was. Within my comments I thought I was being nice by saying "Don't worry, the grammar will come in time, you're just young and eventually you will get the hang of it". Then I looked up (after having posted it, of course) to see that the author was in their 50's. I not only felt like a bad person, I was very worried about where they went to school.
Posted: 12/7/2008 12:28 PM PST
I'm on the same wavelength as the posters here, it appears.
I recently became certified to teach elementary, and language arts at the middle school level due to my degree in English. When I was student teaching, I made sure to sneak in as many lessons about spelling and grammar wherever I could, even if the lesson was about something off the language arts track (science, etc.). I was lucky to have an observing teacher who felt the way I do about instilling good language habits early.itself.
It makes my heart sink when I see adults, many perfectly intelligent and capable, falling on habits such as the "they're-their-there" problem, the "its-it's" problem, and the "I seen-I saw" problem (that one really sends chills down my spine). I've been given things to read at work or by casual friends and just cringe at what I sometimes see. Among my favorites: when I worked on the side with an entertainment company, and the owner (a long-time friend) wrote press releases that included chat-speak. He would end a "cheeky" phrase with "LOL." Instead of appreciating when I, or even his wife, would point out the errors, he would sulk and say we were trying to "ruin his fun." I work full-time at a TV station. Years ago, I was frowned upon by a commercial producer because I kept pointing out his spelling errors that would make it onto commercials he made...for paying clients! Apparently, it's "elitist" to spell correctly, I guess.
When I open up a story to read, and the presentation is full of spelling errors and serious lapses in grammar (not including the allowed rulebreaking in fiction, such as first person narration and so forth...you know what I mean), I don't want to continue because it's just too distracting. Like my long-winded rant.
I'm just happy to see that there are indeed writers who care about how their works are presented.
Posted: 12/5/2008 4:07 AM PST
I must agree with the fact that there are a lot of mistakes being made on this site (even in this topic ;-) ). I am not a native speaker of English, I know my English is not perfect, but I still honestly believe, it is of a higher quality than that of many native speakers on this site. I don't think that would really be a problem if this was a chat room or a gaming site or whatever, but on a writers' site: please! Whenever I am in doubt (even in the stupid its VS it's case or any of this kind), I use a dictionnary, or when I'm lazy, I use the internet (it isn't perfect either, but I use the law of numbers).
I would like to invite all those who are annoyed by others' spelling mistakes to join me in the topic I have just created ("Grammar and splling help"). We cannot teach the correct use of English to all people on this site, but if we correct their mistakes, and tell them what is wrong and why it is wrong, they will learn from it. And we will also be able to exclude typing errors, which you often do not see, when you read your own text again.
It may take some time, but you will be helping others and in the mean time you will be practicing yourself, and maybe reading interesting stories or poems as well.
Posted: 12/2/2008 11:49 AM PST
I agree that typos are different in category to grammatical and spelling mistakes. Leaving spelling aside for the moment let us just look at grammar. On one side you have the grammarians who want a strict set of prescriptive rules. This would have the effect of making natural language a formalised language which would be very rigid and would be ideal for business and law but would eventually eradicate the subtlety of language, along with the many tautologies and anomalies that may be annoying but allow writers to 'play' with language. On the other side we have the linguistic side, which studies language as a quasi-science and is sometimes called descriptive, because it describes how language works.
Then we have, as others have suggested, the change in the syllabus that means grammar, as such, is no longer taught but is presumably picked up through osmosis. I know of no lecturer in further or higher education who actually advocates this course and welcomes having to send so many students to remedial language classes and I do feel it is a political rather than
Posted: 12/2/2008 9:24 AM PST
I see this as two sides. There's the typos, which I myself am guilty of. When you're typing up something written or even in your head and in the speed of typing you put write instead or right. However, when a story is littered with mistakes, that would easily have been caught in proofreading, then there is a issue. Either it's such a turnoff that I can't read the story to review it or the story has to be so strong that I am able to look over the mistakes for the content. Now commas... commas are the bane of my existence so I forgive those mistakes more readily! But spelling errors... come on, all of these things have spell checks built in!
Posted: 12/2/2008 8:24 AM PST
It would be one thing if the grammatical errors were some of the more nit-picky rules where, depending on the inflection, the comma could go either way. I'm talking about huge errors. To some extent, even spelling errors are tolerable. I realize that nobody is perfect and that mistakes are made often enough. Even my lab workbook confused "affect" and "effect". The trouble is, something like the difference between "there" "they're" and "their" is so elementary, it's really irksome to see the incorrect one used over and over again.
Posted: 11/5/2008 12:46 AM PST
"I am emphatically not calling on people to react to the work of others by writing things like "you suck" or "this is terrible" or other useless, strident polemics. What I *do* hope to see more of here is people at least asking questions if they find a writer's choices to be confusing or (dare I say it) ill-advised."
I find this part of your post very helpful. I have often wondered how to point out to someone that something in their writing is not working. You have helped me to realize that if I ask a question about it, then their focus will be drawn to it, and then the discussion will follow.
Posted: 11/5/2008 12:41 AM PST
A writers job is to take their vision and create art by putting it on paper. An editors job is to grasp the missing mechanics of the English language.
Should we allow ourselves to look past the best book that had ever been written because someone forgot some commas?
Posted: 11/2/2008 11:07 AM PST
I am not going to rant too much since I don't feel that I have much room to speak. I am very weak on the grammar aspect of writing. I am in college and in English/Writing classes and I still make mistakes because I don't utilize what I am taught often enough, or worse when I think I am, it turns out I am still making mistakes. Even with having others proof reading my work errors are still there. We don't speak as we write anymore. We write as we speak and our way of speaking is colloquial and is acceptable now. (I am not saying that it is acceptable in writing.) What bugs me more than anything is writing being butchered. People now using chat speak as a form of actual writing. I cannot tolerate it and it drives me batty on the laziness of my generation that can't even afford the extra mili-second to tap the shift key in order to capitalize their 'I' 's when appropriate. That's all I am going to say on this, as I said at the beginning I don't have much to room to talk but what I commented on, I can.
Posted: 10/29/2008 10:41 AM PST
I hear "They was" all the time on the street. If it's a quote, then it's correct, but it bugs me too.
Posted: 10/24/2008 10:30 AM PDT
Fictionpress has different purposes, so you cannot make as strong an argument there. However, the issue is that even though there is the possibility of being published here, many treat it as the "easy" way to be published, and thus not as demanding of quality. However, there are some seriously good works on this site, and I look forward to having a sort of "favorite stories" area on public profiles to let those gems rise to the top.
Imagine if everyone read their work out loud... myself included. What a difference it would make!
I made a group called I Solemnly Swear To Improve WEbook for people dedicated to improving the quality of WEbook works.
Please check it out!
Posted: 10/22/2008 8:48 PM PDT
It is heartening indeed to know that the finer points of English usage are still hallowed among some of today's students. I commend you. That said, I would point out that "ain't" is indeed a word; however, it is colloquial and most often to be eschewed outside of informal conversation.
And now to totally switch gears...
I am so glad I stumbled upon this thread, because I was about to delete my account here. I am a rather outspoken pedant and elitist when it comes to usage rules, and I have been astounded at some of the transgressions to be found among the works posted on this site. This is to say nothing of the writings that adhere to proper grammar and yet still fail to offer anything in the way of compelling artistic expression.
I should preface all of this by saying that I fully support those who simply enjoy writing. There is nothing wrong with exercising one's creativity irrespective of one's giftedness, and I do not intend to insinuate otherwise with anything I write in this post.
If my friend lets me read her journal, and I come across some poetry that I consider to be inferior--or mediocre at best--and I tell her so without tempering my commentary with a considerable amount of tact, then I am merely a bad person. However, if that same friend submits her work via an electronic medium whose *sole purpose* is to assist in the critical phase of a work's evolution, then my insights are entirely appropriate. The latter of these two scenarios is what I've noticed a startling lack of on this site. My interests center very largely around poetry (for the purposes of my interactions here, anyway), and I have literally--LITERALLY--found not a single poem on this site with comments that were not 100% positive. I'm all for encouraging people to be creative. Really. I am. But consider the fact that poets like Marianne Moore and A.R. Ammons had some work *rejected* by literary journals even *after* they landed their first book deals. Is everyone here immune to the types of criticisms that these great poets endured even after they were solidly established in their professional careers as writers?
I am emphatically not calling on people to react to the work of others by writing things like "you suck" or "this is terrible" or other useless, strident polemics. What I *do* hope to see more of here is people at least asking questions if they find a writer's choices to be confusing or (dare I say it) ill-advised.
Again (and correct me if I'm wrong here), but isn't the *entire point* of this site to provide a readily accessible audience for one's work? Do any of us honestly expect that any of our work will ever meet with universal praise? And yet this is all I seem to encounter (at least in the Poetry section). I sincerely hope that any work I submit here will find eyes and ears that appreciate it; however, I am equally hopeful that any room for improvement will be eagerly pointed out by insightful readers. Artistic expression is something to be treated with respect and consideration for the experiences that provided its creator with the original inspiration. Nevertheless, if we presume to move our art from a purely private venue into a public place where it might share a place next to other works that have been esteemed as skillful, then we must be ready to endure a fair amount of criticism.
Posted: 10/22/2008 1:18 PM PDT
I am fourteen years old, and I go to a rural school. I understand rural education isn't as good as municipal [I am from a big city] , but "ain't" is not a word and I loath it when teachers and students alike use the term as if it made grammerical sense. I may not be overly educated in the mechanics of my language, but it fustrates me to no end when I read "g2g" or "Srry." I am truely sorry that my generation causes so much pain to you, trust me it kills me to be represented by these illiterate teens.
Posted: 10/18/2008 3:48 PM PDT
The literacy level has dropped dramatically in the last few years. I hear about this alot on different shows and I can't help but beleive it. I don't know what method is best but I know that we don't have it. Phonics is nice but I agree with Fioce that a combination of different learning methods is probably best. One thing that is true though is that Americans are lazy, don't argue I know it based on overwhelming evidence. One thing is the bible and don't think I'm trying to be religious but the original english is eloquent and beautiful to read, also include original works of Shakespear and others in this, anyway so many translate into "simple" english. If more people learned using difficult text and really working hard I think we would all be smarter. You know in my Literature books and classes we read simplified excerts of stories. When I tried to read the Oddysey years later I got so bogged down cause I had never learned how to understand or read such a rich text. None of my teachers made me read the classics and now I try but can't quit understand them.
Posted: 10/17/2008 3:23 PM PDT
Phonics isn't the answer to everything. My sister was taught to read with phonics, and she has difficulty with words that don't follow the "rules". The truth is that an incredibly high amount of children taught by phonics do not learn how to read and write properly. Nor is the "whole language" and "invented spelling" any better. It may be that the best is a combination of both, plus an enormous exposure to good writing.
However, neither of those help with sentence and paragraph structure.
We consider ourselves a literate society, yet - on a site targeted towards writers, no less - we have overwhelming evidence that the majority of people are semi-literate at best.
Posted: 10/16/2008 1:24 PM PDT
My English classes in public school involved quite a bit of diagramming sentences. Unfortunately, said sentences were so simple that the diagramming could be pretty much accomplished via mathematical conjecture: "If I assume that there are two adjectives, and that the verb is the median of the sentence..."
I remember French class being pretty fun, particularly when our tragic teacher tried to explain what the conditional tense was. Legend says she later filed a complaint against the school's English department.
Posted: 10/8/2008 4:57 PM PDT
Public schools tend to teach to the test, unless you are taking much higher-level courses, such as taking honors English. On the other hand, if your school doesn't offer those different levels, or if it is elementary school, then you don't really have much control over that.
I don't know what public elementary school is like; my parents had me in a private Montessori school. I DO know that at that particular time, instead of teaching phonics, the public schools were teaching "whole word learning" or "whole word reading" (I forget the exact name). I was taught phonics. I don't know if you remember those 'hooked on phonics" commercials in the 90's, but I can tell you that if public schools had been teaching phonics instead of whole word learning, that program would never have made money.
It used to bother me to no end when we had to read a passage out loud in class because, inevitably, the people who would be reading it would stop mid-sentence to take a breath and completely skip over the period. Not only that, but they didn't seem capable of figuring out how to say a word they had never come across before....
Posted: 10/8/2008 10:11 AM PDT
I know that chinese is tonal and the same two letters can have five different meanings just by changing the way you say it but with all of that I still think English is more complicated. I think even getting a masters in English wouldn't give you enough to really understand it. I went to a very small rural public school. Let me tell you they didn't care if I personally had understood what they taught. All schools care about are numbers. They care about tests. You memorise like mad, pass the test and then it is all gone. I don't think schools actually teach much these days just how to pass tests. I also had the added bonus of a learning disabilaty. So while I read as much as I can I still don't understand how to use grammer correctly. I manage to sound reasonably intelligable but I know I am horrible at spelling and mixing up tenses. I think schools should start actually teaching people how to learn and how to understand rather than just how to take a test.
Posted: 9/15/2008 12:50 PM PDT
You would be correct; all adjectives that describe nationality must start with a capital letter. We seem to just /love/ all over the capital letters here.
I took french for a while in school. I had god-awful teachers, but still managed to get A's. But, I can understand it much better than I can speak, write, or think in it.
*learned foreign languages, just so you know. (xP)
They certainly do open up new possibilities, but the trouble is that not everyone understands what that means. It becomes incredibly frustrating to try and get feedback on something that no one understands because everyone knows more Spanish than French.
Posted: 9/13/2008 12:02 PM PDT
> ... grasp the mechanics essential to the english language?
Stop me if I'm wrong, but isn't one of English language's mechanics to have all adjectives describing nationality starting with a capital letter? (Enfin, j'dis ça, j'dis rien... *rolleyes*)
I do not know what to say. Most French people blame their tragically poor English on school and teachers, too. But I've been at the same stupid school, and had the same pathetic teachers, yet I have learnt some English. And it's not like I'm more intelligent than anyone else, either. I mean I was a good student, but otherwise I'm pretty stupid.
I used to have a pretty spotless French (ie native tongue), but then I learnt foreign languages. Now I'm just highly confused. I never could write without a dictionary (and I keep learning new words, and probably forgetting some as well, every day), but lately it's just become more than essential. By now I use it to check spelling and syntax almost as much as to check vocab.
At the same time I've stopped understanding how it was possible to write without knowing foreign languages. Foreign languages open up new worlds of verbal possibilities. Being stuck in a mother tongue is stifling; where is one even supposed to find the space to be creative?
Posted: 9/10/2008 9:25 AM PDT
The school I teach in now is an immersion school. We have a kindergarten as well as elementary students, and while in the school, be it for the day or for a couple of hours, the students aren't allowed to speak Chinese. (Unless there's a real problem of course.) They have wonderful English comprehension, for their ages, and mix the tenses all the time and that kind of thing, but that's what native speakers do too as they're learning. It is, as you say, part of the process.
Posted: 9/10/2008 8:30 AM PDT
"I have to say, I agree with pretty much everything in this thread. The poor style demonstrated by many here is saddening. I will flat out refuse to read something if, upon a quick glance, it looks put together sloppily."
If you want a real headache, go to fictionpress.com
It seemed to me that here, since there is the possibility of becoming published, more people take their writing seriously.
Posted: 9/10/2008 8:29 AM PDT
All of my foreign language teachers, and everyone I know that has taken a foreign language, says something to the effect of. "I learned more about English from [other language] than from my English classes." It has a lot to do with the way language is developed.
For example, when a child is learning their native tongue, they are entirely immersed in it. They learn to speak it before they learn the grammatical rules and correct spelling that go along with it. They /acquire/ their native language by virtue of the fact that they are immersed in it.
Also noteworthy is that, when you are learning your first language, you can communicate clearly and properly without going into the names of the verb tenses, or the parts of speech. That must be /taught/. Since most people (at least nowadays, or in the schools I went to) tend to shirk on their grammar (which is why we had to go over it every year in English class instead of doing something new and productive...) so they don't actually /learn/ the particulars of it until they go through learning a second language.
Second languages are much more difficult to pick up, unless you come from a bilingual household, or perhaps if the society you live in gives equal weight to both languages (as in Quebec, for example, French and English are taught.) for the simple fact that you don't hear it all the time. You learn the rules as you learn to speak. You may not have known what the present perfect tense was called in your native language, but you did know how to use it.
Posted: 9/10/2008 5:52 AM PDT
I have to say, I agree with pretty much everything in this thread. The poor style demonstrated by many here is saddening. I will flat out refuse to read something if, upon a quick glance, it looks put together sloppily.
Posted: 9/9/2008 1:19 PM PDT
I teach English! (as a foreign language.)
I didn't really get taught grammar in school. It's probably why I was so bad at French. In English, they never taught us about verbs changing tenses and that kind of thing, so when we started it in French I had NO idea what was happening. Obviously, I understand things a bit better now. The funny thing is that when I was doing the teaching English course, there were about ten of us native English speakers and two who'd learned it as a foreign language. They knew their grammar much better than any of us did!
Posted: 9/8/2008 10:46 AM PDT
You know, I always intended to read "Eats, Shoots & Leaves" but I have never managed to get around to it.
Eventually, eventually, the call of a procrastinator.
Posted: 9/6/2008 11:24 PM PDT
A bystander shakes his head in wonderment. Thinking to himself, "how do they do it?"
Posted: 9/6/2008 12:20 PM PDT
One of the best pieces of advice that an English teacher gave me was "Know the rules before you break them." (8th grade)
I think it applies to many things in writing, not just mechanics--for example, if you're going to write a science fiction novel and play havoc with the laws of physics or something, you should understand a little bit about physics before you start having your spaceships break the speed of light willy-nilly. (Would that the creators of X-Men understood more than rudimentary biology when they came up with their warped ideas of mutation.)
Relying on traditional education alone is not good enough if you want to be a professional in any field. For a writer, studying the mechanics of writing should be a life-long, ongoing process. Strunk & White's "Elements of Style" and Truss's "Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation" are two of my favorite books ever, and also the two that I recommend most often to people who want to learn more about the mechanics of writing but aren't sure where to begin.
That said, I adore e e cummings.
Posted: 9/6/2008 11:55 AM PDT
I think if I died a little on the inside each time I heard that, my insides would be long dead and attracting bugs...which only goes to show how messed up today's writers really can be.
Posted: 9/6/2008 11:50 AM PDT
"Grammar is no longer explicitly taught in schools, it's that simple. Gen Y on will have no ability to understand english rules. Most of the students I deal with can't identify verbs and nouns."
I just graduated high-school and have now started college. I was drilled in elementary school with "GUM" (grammar usage and mechanics) workbooks. Apparently, the public schools were not as adamant that children learn grammar because when I went to middle and high-school, we had to go over everything. Again. IT stands to reason that at some point people would actually learn the rules. However, the problem seems to be that you cannot force a person to learn anything they don't want to. The major downfall of the public school system, at the very least in Florida. (Note/; we all know Florida is at the bottom of the food chain, so to speak, when it comes to quality of education.)
"What I love best is when people say they love to write but hate to read"
Every time someone says that, I die a little on the inside.
Posted: 9/5/2008 5:24 PM PDT
Yeah, I hate that too. I think a good writer shouldn't sound like an ignorant fool when it comes to basic mechanics in grammar. I mean one or two mistakes is not bad but making the same mistake twice is just plain wrong.What really bugs me is that people can't seem to grasp the concept of subject verb agreement. I live in the south and I can still tell you that "they" and "was" never go in a sentence together! Something else thats annoying is when people use the same word over and over. Now that was some serious rambling but hey, I said what I needed
(Not hating on any writers. Just to let you know)
Posted: 9/5/2008 2:10 PM PDT
What I love best is when people say they love to write but hate to read.... I mean really, that just makes me laugh and cry at the same time. There's not much else I can say about it, just....wow.
Posted: 9/5/2008 1:24 PM PDT
Grammar is no longer explicitly taught in schools, it's that simple. Gen Y on will have no ability to understand english rules. Most of the students I deal with can't identify verbs and nouns.
Posted: 9/5/2008 1:19 PM PDT
Aaah, kindred spirits. It really escapes me how people can call themselves writers and yet their spelling, punctuation and grammar are all over the place - does no one read their stories and tell them this? Do they not type into a word processor? Evidently the answer to both of those is 'no'. That, and it seems to me that many such people, and others who just type badly in forums and similar places, claim to be 'top of their English class', or 'majoring in English', or something else like that. HOW??
Posted: 9/5/2008 8:04 AM PDT
"a good story is more important than fantastic feats of grammar." -- True, a good story can triumph over any obstacle; however, when a book is published, it isn't riddled with improper verb conjugation, lack of tense agreement, or too many simple grammar mistakes.
This makes me so incredibly happy to know that I am not the only one that feels this way.
Posted: 9/5/2008 6:40 AM PDT
I would just like it if they KNEW the rules they were breaking. I don't so much mind the breakage, but would like it to be more of an informed consent type of deal.
Posted: 9/5/2008 2:07 AM PDT
Depends what you mean by mechanics - I'm a stickler for traditional spelling but feel funcitonal grammar is sufficent (does it make sense or does it not). I know other people find that ludicrous but in reality sometimes a good story is more important than fantastic feats of grammar. That said random punctuation really does drive me up the wall, particularly commas that seem to be lost or on vacation.
Posted: 9/4/2008 4:22 PM PDT
Lamb, I have a feeling you and I will be friends :)
Posted: 9/4/2008 3:05 PM PDT
... grasp the mechanics essential to the english language?