Grammar Makes a Difference

Hello, all. I’m one of Beaufort Books/Spencer Hill’s newest interns, originally from North Carolina. I wanted to share some thoughts I have on grammar: the good, the bad, the ugly.

One of the things that makes reading so enjoyable is the fact that a specially arranged amount of letters and punctuations all come together to create a vivid picture, story, or idea. They flow together in a way in which we don’t even have to think about all the details, just what the details are communicating. However, when the letters and punctuations don’t follow the rules of communication, my brain makes an annoying stop. I’ve always noticed the rules of grammar, but I became cursed during an editing class in college. Suddenly, I can’t read for enjoyment without mentally turning off my editing brain. I reread a book after the class and almost threw it across the room because I suddenly noticed that the grammar was abysmal – so much for getting sucked into that story-line again. When my teachers had to divert from the lesson plan to remind people about basic grammar rules for their papers, I groaned and rolled my eyes. How are people making these mistakes?

Hemingway is one of my writing heroes. He was famously recorded telling F. Scott Fitzgerald: “Write the best story that you can and write it as straight as you can.” People don’t need flowery stuff to understand what you’re saying. Get rid of all those excessively repeated references and please don’t use so many exclamation marks. If you use an exclamation mark after more than 50% of your sentences (or *cringe* more than one), I’m going to get tired of reading everything in such an excited tone. Talk to me like a person. Grab my attention in other ways.

Please read what you write! Mistakes happen, but I get seriously concerned when your sentences are missing chunks or you’re using “are” instead of “our.” Make your writing as much of a pleasant experience for the reader as you can. Of course, many people will go on rants about the proper uses of “your/you’re” and “there/their/they’re,” but the grammar rule I wish people knew was the difference between “apart” and “a part.” It really is a big difference.

Now that I’ve said my piece, let’s just think about how amazing it is that, just by following the rules of the written English language, we can convey an elaborate picture, evoke emotion, and argue a point. Really, the written word is fascinating.

–Rebecca, Intern

Tags: , , , , ,