By Annette Rey
Spend time learning grammar? I can hear the comments. What? As if I have time for that!
Do not think that the study of grammar is boring or unnecessary and do not postpone this study for your editor to correct for you.
As a writer, you should be proud to master your language.
Grammar has important uses in our language.
1) It provides clarity to the writer’s thoughts and conveys the writer’s meaning to his readers. The better grammar you use, the more you can be sure your reader is following your intended storyline. You don’t want to mislead your readers. If you do, they will feel betrayed and you will lose a following.
2) Sentences presented correctly allows for free flow of reading for your audience which should encourage them to continue on in enjoying your writing.
3) Good grammar also provides fewer corrections on rewrite.
4) If you are well-versed in this aspect of structuring sentences, your writing will proceed more smoothly. And what writer doesn’t want that?
5) The study of grammar will sink into your subconscious and will come off as seeming to be a natural sense (though it is not; it is hard-earned).
6) This apparent natural sense that you draw upon saves you time, helps stop hesitation, and can prevent a complete stoppage of work.
7) And my favorite positive side effect of studying grammar is it’s a great anti-insomnia treatment without introducing any chemicals into my body. When I have a sleepless night, I open a grammar book. Besides making me sleepy, I like to think that when I sleep, subconsciously, I am absorbing grammar rules by osmosis, so to speak.
In our casual daily conversation we make all sorts of faux pas as we speak. As writers, we can’t afford to do that. We can say Him and me went to the show, but we must write He and I went to the show.
There is a fairly easy way to determine which words are correct to use. Say the sentence out loud using only one of the subjects and see how it sounds to your natural ear. Many chances are, you will hear the correct rendering of the sentence you are creating.
Him went to the show.
Me went to the show.
He went to the show.
I went to the show.
You can hear, and now see, the correct rendering is: He and I went to the show.
There are so many rules of grammar and so many books out there to reference. I know, people use the web and there are great grammar sites out there, but having a book to hold and sit quietly with is the ultimate way to learn. The paper page won’t blip out on you, the battery on your device won’t flash and interrupt you, and you can slouch in any position and still focus on your page.
With a paper book you can go over and over a rule without feeling like you have to scroll to see more. The whole page stays in your view. Your eye will automatically scan up and down and to the next page which is already in your sights.
You can mark your own comments in your book. The next time you pick up your book, your written remarks will strike a memory chord with you. Repeated memory is the key to learning.
The voice of the writer of a grammar book comes through. There will be those you learn from better than others. You have the freedom to pick which one works best for you. Go to a library or a bookstore and read them before you buy.
Don’t let learning grammar scare you. The more you know, the more your writing will flow.
The entire excursion into being the best writer you can be is the sense of accomplishment you will experience as you master your craft.
And the journey is just a heck of a lot of fun, too.