Monday, March 16, 2009

Good Grammar = Good Writing?

So when I got fired, my boss told me one of things that caused my occupational demise was my lack of copy editing skills. So since then I've been on this kick of buying grammar books, hoping to fight that battle of misplaced modifiers.

I don't know though. I don't know if I can really retain this stuff. I've been reading Grammar Girl's book and following her blog since December now and I've only noticed a slight change in my ability to catch mistakes. When I read all the little tips and quips, I nod my head and think, "yes, I can see why that's wrong!" However, about 10 minutes later, it's like I never read the rule in the first place.

My question to other writer's is this: Do you think having a better handle on grammar makes you a better writer?

5 comments:

RCBonay said...

I was discussing the topic of basic grammar with a friend at work today. We both agreed that, if asked, we could easily explain what defines a noun or a verb but we'd have to look in a textbook to remind ourselves what defines everything else. To respond to your question I do believe it's important to be aware of what good grammar is in order to write clearly. Once this is established,and your audience understands you, you can use bad grammar-in the form of artistic license-to write in your own voice.

kitsimpson said...

"Do you think having a better handle on grammar makes you a better writer?"

Obviously you're not a college English prof faced with a room-full of students whose grasp of grammar is equivalent to their grasp of synchronised electron-spin dynamics.

No, no. I'm not bitter towards the education system. Nope. Not at all.

Anyway, the point is, it's kind of like art. Not everyone can become an artist, but if they learn the basics, almost everyone can at least draw a decent picture. Likewise, not everyone can write, but if they have a grounding in the structure of the craft, they're at least not going to sound like morons.

I guess, what I'm saying is grammar may not produce good writing, but bad grammar is guaranteed to produce bad writing.

Christopher Simpson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kitsimpson said...

(Sorry -- I screwed up the above deleted post by Christopher Simpson. Trying it again.)

Perhaps this might help. It's a comic book I put together for my students illustrating the basic concepts of grammar by means of Lewis Carroll's nonsense poem, The Jabberwocky.

You can find it here

purplume said...

My dream is to find a writer who loves to edit up a piece of writing and be writing partners with them.
That would leave me free to write a creative story line and leave the rest to them. I'm thinking there may be people who prefer that part of it?
I immediately liked your voice and writing.
Best luck with it.
JB