Grammarian, Step Back from the Page.


Apologize for being a word nerd? Never. Apologize for being a grammarian? Well…this is a double-edged sword for fiction writers. After all, we need to bend rules in fiction, don’t we? We can’t have our characters sounding like prim and proper 50’s librarians. No offense intended. I’m a teacher so often my teacher comes out, and I am hit with the need to grab that red ink pen and go to town. Over the years, I’ve learned to curb that urge.
   Still, while we can’t write fiction as if it’s a grammar text-book, we can’t write it in such a way that the reader is stumbling over words and sentences that are awkward and misplaced and misleading. It’s important to know when throwing the rule book out is a good thing and improves your work and when it’s impairing meaning.

   Are you a grammarian, too? Do you want to edit road side signs? Menus? Newspapers?

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10 Comments

Filed under Writing

10 responses to “Grammarian, Step Back from the Page.

  1. I’m always editing stuff, but not to the point of making it sound dry. I do enjoy a good typo on road signs, menus and newspapers. A blogger friend lbdiamond did a post on this last December (Flake-Out Friday-Oddly Specific) with pictures of actual signs such as “Caution: Door May Open”. Made me laugh out loud.

    Fellow Word Nerd, Natasha

  2. I’m a librarian, but not a ’50s one or a prim and proper one. LOL.

    I agree – I actually like my characters to sound ‘real’, so they’re not always speaking with perfect grammar. But of course I like the smart ones to sound smart 😀

  3. Liz

    Yeah, I can get really irritated by bad grammar. Not that I’m perfect (<–see, sentence fragment).

    Have you seen unnecessaryquotes.com? There are blogs out there devoted to finding bad grammar. We are not alone.

  4. Jenna

    Sometimes I notice things, but I’m not the first to jump in and point mistakes out. Unless, of course, I’m editing someone’s writing. When I say I’m an English teacher and the first thing someone says is either, “Oh, I bet you hate people who use incorrect grammar,” or “Well, don’t correct me too much,” I get annoyed. I’m not analyzing every little sentence, especially when it’s spoken. I do get a kick out of it when my students show me mistakes on signs, posters, or advertisements. At least I know they know their homonyms/homophones!

    • dawnall

      My cousin wouldn’t write to me in college (before the days of email) because she feared I’d take my red pen to her letters. I’ve never done that. I’m not even tempted to. We get enough of that with our students. 🙂

  5. NOT! I’d just like to get to a point where I can find errors in my own writing…or better yet be able to spot them in others at group. Feel free to correct that ridiculous sentence I just wrote. Thank goodness I have you Dawn. Keep a red pen handy for when I read mine! 😉

  6. I used to edit things all of the time but have learned to tone it down quite a bit now. There are things that need to be edited and things that are a new way of expression.

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