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Monday, March 3, 2014

Communicate What You Mean: Her Grammarness Lives. Then There's Something Called A to Z Blog Challenge

Her Grammarness Wears This While Writing.
(Not really)

If you can't express your ideas clearly on the page, you're not communicating what you want.

At a book signing one of the people in the audience asked, "Do you pay attention to grammar when you write?"

I was with two other authors. One said sometimes. The other said never.

Guess what I said?

Actually, I think I uttered more of a loud English teacher moan before I said, "Without following the writing conventions, we can't communicate what we really mean."

Kind of pompous? Maybe, but come on writers, if you're not clear when you set down your ideas on a page, what do you expect, your readers to do--call you up and ask, "What did you mean when you wrote this?"

Personally, I don't like late night phone calls (I expect that's when I'd get these kinds of calls), so I'm willing to put in the extra care to get the grammar and, for that matter, the punctuation as correct as I can. Even then, I want a keen-eyed editor going over my prose--I messed up on this once, but never again. That's a long and embarrassing story that I shall reveal upon my deathbed, but not before.

I went exploring on the good old Internet and found a few places that are great resources for anyone trying to put ideas on a page. Here are some links, so check them out when you're not sure about your punctuation or when you have to win an argument over that lie/lay-sit/set-passed/past issue. Never again dangle those participles and never again wonder if your clauses are restrictive and need commas or non-restrictive and don't.

QUICK AND DIRTY TIPS
THE GRAMMAR BOOK
FREE GRAMMAR HELP
GRAMMAR SLAMMER




I caught the tail end of the #atozchallenge Tweet Chat Friday night. I met some new Tweeps and chatted afterward. As one of M.J. Joachim's Team, I like to explore what's going on. You might check out the Chat next Friday evening. It starts at 5PM. 

Here's the rest of JOCHIM'S lovely A to Z Team



Suzanne Sapsed - Suzanne’s Tribe
Sherry Ellis - Mama Diaries & Gone Gardening  
Bish Denham - Random Thoughts

41 comments:

  1. I was out for the night with friends, so I missed the chat!
    I always pay attention to grammar as I write. I couldn't do it otherwise.

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  2. If you don't get the grammar right the first time, you just have to fix it later anyway.

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    1. Isn't rewriting the greatest? I love finding the you're/your or it's/ its mistakes I make.

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  3. As much as I cringe at the thought of grammar, it is really necessary. It's our guidelines. But I do agree with L.Diane. Sometimes when I'm writing, I know I 'just' wrote a phrase incorrectly, but will leaving so I can get the rest of my thought out. I go back later and fix.

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    1. Oh yes. But you go back and fix it. There in lies all the difference. :-)

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  4. I am horrible with commas. When I write, or shall I say draft, I rarely stop to worry about grammar. The downfall? I've reread my roughs and totally confused myself...and they were my own thoughts. So, yes, grammar matters.

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    1. Those commas are slippery little devils, I admit.

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  5. I recall attending a conference and shaking my head every time this one author responded to questions. Every answer was, "my assistant helps me with that" leaving me to wonder if all the author did was toss ideas on a paper then hand it to her assistant to turn it into a clean MS...grammar was one of the things "her assistant helped her with."

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    1. Maybe she should just hire a ghost writer and get it over with. :-)

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  6. grammar is necessary, ask an editor! there are exceptions, but few, for author idiosynchrasies...

    yay for a to z!

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    1. I like idiosyncrasies. And I break a lot of rule for the sake of the prose. That's different than not knowing the rules.

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  7. Thanks for the grammar links. You're right. Getting grammar right is important. I confess that I probably don't know all the rules, but I do try.

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    1. That beats the heck out of not caring, Natalie!

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  8. Grammar does matter. I'm really looking forward to A to Z.

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  9. It matters - as I have gone back during edits of my own work and have been totally confused! So, I pay better attention the first time around.

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    1. Isn't that the worst, though? If I can confuse myself with my prose just think what I can do others.

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  10. Oh, I was deep in editing, correcting grammar, style and structure. Great post. Sorry was not here earlier. Thanks for the consideration.

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    1. You bet! Glad you got around to say hi.

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  11. Reading aloud helps me catch many grammar issues -- or in-general weird wording.

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    1. I can write some of the weirdest sentences. I wonder where they come from?

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  12. Grammar mistakes generally make my teeth hurt. They have to be fixed immediately! :)

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    1. I know that's why I write so slowly.

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  13. Lol. My grammer is not the worst but people are always correcting me. It is true, we were brought up speaking English and we should speak it well. Grammar is super important.

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  14. Hey there, amazing personality and all round neato celebrity, Lee,

    Just checking you post for grammar. Very good (nice to see something in brackets) don't you know.

    Personally, I'm a grammar anarchist. I've been known to overuse commas, because commas, in a way, are like the filing system within a sentence. Cool, eh.

    I went onto the amazing alphabet tweet chat. You might be stunned to know that I left satirical tweets. Hope you were sitting comfortably.

    Extra bonus points for commenting on your must-read blog at nearly three thirty in the morning. Yes, my hectic life dictates I must find the time to comment here before I go check my eyelids for cracks.

    As ever, your starstruckest fan,

    Shy and humble, Gary

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    1. I've emailed you. Hope you had a good night's sleep!

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  15. I don't worry about grammar when I write, but I do worry about it during revision. (And my grammar isn't that bad anyway). Is it too late to sign up for A-Z?

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    1. Hope you'll sign up, Beth. There's still plenty of time.

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  16. Thanks for sharing the grammar resources. I try to pay attention while I am writing and constantly look rules up when I am editing. I have learned a lot and shown improvement, but there are certain things that trip me up every time. :) These resources will be good "go to places" for me. Thanks!
    ~Jess

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  17. I don't worry about grammar during the first draft. Every draft after that I become a little obsessive over it.

    :D

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    1. Hi Sam. Here's to writing through college!

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  18. Bowing in front of the Grammar queen :)

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  19. I agree, getting the grammar right is soooo important. Great resources.

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  20. I think I just developed a nervous tick at the concept that grammar isn't an essential part of the team from the get go.

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  21. Hi Lee - my grammar knowledge is really limited, I write by instinct .. and then correct if it doesn't make sense before I post. But as I only blog ... one day I shall pay attention and study it, I hope.

    Now what about a post on doing without commas, or apostrophes that seems to be the idea for the future ... and how will regulations et al be written using text?

    Cheers - but I do hate reading things with errors in ... or that's uncomfortable to read - Hilary

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  22. Really looking forward to the a to z challenge.

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