Sometimes being creative means breaking the rules. Like using sentence fragments. And starting a sentence with a conjunction. Or ending it with a preposition.
It’s been said a million times: you have to learn the rules before you break them.
Using good grammar may not make or break your writing career. In fact, if you get too attached to the rules of grammar, your writing might come off as uppity or old-fashioned, and readers will have a hard time relating.
However, learning the rules of grammar will only make your writing stronger and more professional, even if you don’t always apply those rules to what you write.
National Grammar Day
Grammar is a serious matter for many people. Teachers, editors, linguists, and other writing and publishing professionals have strong ties to proper grammar usage. I think it’s fantastic that there’s an entire day dedicated to recognizing and celebrating proper use of our language.
National Grammar Day is a day to “Speak well! Write well! And on March 4, march forth and spread the word. We want people to think about language and how it can be used best.”
Take some time today, in honor of good grammar, to visit the National Grammar Day website, which is a lot of fun and provides plenty of excellent tips and resources as well as articles about good grammar (and not-so-good grammar).
The Good Grammar People
National Grammar Day is hosted by The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar SPOGG (update: link no longer active), which is “for pen-toters appalled by wanton displays of Bad English.”
SPOGG is for people who crave good, clean English — sentences cast well and punctuated correctly. It’s about clarity. And who knows how many of the world’s huge problems could be solved if we had a little more of that?
It’s free to join, and you get entertaining newsletters about grammar, so do check it out.
How will you celebrate National Grammar Day? Are there any good grammar resources that you’d like to recommend? Share your thoughts, knowledge, and suggestions in the comments.
Happy National Grammar Day!
I’m spending my morning copyediting. Can’t think of a better way to celebrate! 🙂
(Why are all of these comments dated last April? Have I stumbled upon some “Lost”-like time warp??)
Hi Rebecca, Happy National Grammar Day! You’re right — copyediting is a perfect task for today.
I’m not sure why those comments were showing up except I was doing some stuff with old posts and backups, and I think maybe it was some kind of tech error. I think they’re all cleaned up now. Thanks!
I like your take – “you have to learn the rules before you break them”.
Bad grammar hurts credibility, it does not make it easier for me as English is my other language…. I am so grateful i have a friend who helps me tons with my grammar. He is my greatest grammar resource 🙂
He is Editor In Chief for PracticeThis.com 😉 – look for Jimmy on each post.
I actually enjoy studying grammar. So much of writing is finding the right words and images and just being creative in general. Grammar is a mechanical aspect, a welcome relief from all the other stuff.
I’m with Alik on this one. It’s funny because people will claim they’re using bad grammar as artistic expression, but oftentimes… it’s simply because they don’t know how to write properly. It’s crucial to build the foundation before you try and experiment.
Oh yes – I’ve seen that before – breaching the rules of grammar and claiming it’s for the sake of art. Sometimes it works, but oddly, only when the writer actually knows those rules.
Grammar’s a tricky subject for me. I like breaking rules. I also like people to be able to read my work. 😛
Hi Gabriel, Yep, that’s why the rules are helpful, so people can actually read your work.
“…March 4th, march forth…” I love it!
Sometimes while I’m writing, I pause about whether or not a grammar rule should be broken. I know I don’t know all there is to know about it, but for some reason I know when I’m wrong without remembering why or how I know it. I think I’m babbling again.
I missed the day, but I know I was too busy looking for a theater playing a midnight showing of a movie, and trying to look like I was working hard.
That happens to me too – sometimes I know something is off, but I can’t explain the rule. That’s why I write posts like this — so I understand the mechanics of the rules and can explain or defend them.