Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fun post about breaking the grammar rules (and that it's okay!)

I ran across this post while catching up on Nathan Bransford's blog today. Nathan is a literary agent (and a damn cool one, from what I can tell!), who maintains a great blog to help aspiring writers learn how to woo agents and break into that elite group of the published. The post I've linked to is actually a guest blog post by one Susannah Windsor Freeman of Write It Sideways.

The article is an interesting read, discussing two groups of people: Word Nerds (or Grammar Nazis) who require strict compliance with grammar rules (boring!) and Grammar Rebels who know those rules, but knowingly choose to break them for the sake of smooth-sounding phrasing or some other desired effect. Me personally? I'm a freakin' rebel, of course. Who wants to always rearrange their sentence structure to prevent ending with a preposition?

So apologies in advance to you Nerds/Nazis for my judicious use of sentence fragments and first word conjunctions. As I'm not writing a research paper, I don't feel particularly bound to the English rules in my manuscript.

Actually, I take back my apology (or take my apology back, if you want to split infinitives, hah!). Rebels don't apologize, do they? :)


  1. LOL, nice post. I personally don't care about grammar when I read books, unless it makes it so difficult to follow and understand the writing/story. So don't apologize, rebel away! :)

  2. Yeah, let's be honest (oops, a cliche, I'm on a roll!): most readers are not going to be that discerning when it comes to grammar, particularly with narratives. Storytelling in written format is at the fringe of conversation, so why should we be bound by such inflexible rules?

    I've actually been looking for ways that Cinda Williams Chima is "breaking/bending the rules" in my current read THE DEMON KING. I'm so glad she plays with the grammar.

    1.) It makes for a much less stuffy book.
    2.) It totally empowers me to follow suit.

    Viva la resistance!