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Young Writers Society
Grammar & Research
Sun Sep 02, 2007 4:39 am
A lot of people, especially less-experienced writers, underestimate the value of grammar. Which is more than understandable. Instead of the wrong spellings, which is easy correctable, grammar is an iffy thing, at best. Yeah, question marks go at the end of the sentence. But other questions come up. Should I put this comma here or here? Should I separate this paragraph or not? When should I bother using parenthesis, or should I just use parenthetical commas? And that's just the beginning! As you go on the quest for perfect grammar, the lines become blurred.
So why should you bother learning this?
Words are just words. Anybody with half a mind can string a bunch of words together that may or may not be meaningful or intelligent. These words might make up the greatest story around, or it might be the worse thing you've ever read. Ever. How do we know the difference? Simple! How do you tell your story? How do you say it?
Yep... grammar clues in to how you say it. Yeah, you can describe how your character's eyes roll as someone says something stupid, but this only tells us half the story. The rest is grammar. Where do you put your dramatic pauses? Where do you put your emphasis, using italics or otherwise? So instead of focusing on grammar, you focus on the way you tell your story. And this counts.
You see, you can manipulate grammar so much that one slight change will totally change the meaning of your story.
Let's take an example from FREAK!
In it, the freak laughs and sings a nursery rhyme. "Baa Baa Black Sheep" to be exact.
If I write this:
She laughed. "Baa baa black sheep, have you any wool? Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full. One for my master, one for my dame, but none for the little boy who cries in the lane."
Then it has a completely different impression from:
She laughed. "Baa baa black sheep, have you any wool? Yes sir! Yes sir! Three bags full. One for my master, one for my dame. But none for the little boy who cries in the lane!"
And if I add italics for emphasis, it differs even more so.
She laughed. "Baa baa black sheep, have you any wool? Yes
Three bags full. One for my master, one for my dame. But
none for the little boy who cries in the lane
Be careful about the way you use grammar. It can mean the difference between success and failure for your story.
Ubi caritas est vera, Deus ibi est.
"The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls the butterfly." ~ Richard Bach
Moth and Myth
<- My comic!
Thu May 27, 2010 4:14 pm
wow thank you so much!! its Really something how you wrote the same rhyme three times yet they all came out so different! This Helped!
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