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This is the blog of children's book author and third grade teacher, Stacy Barnett Mozer. I blog about my own writing journey, the journey of other kidlit authors, my classroom, and talk about books. Thanks for stopping by. Your thoughts are always welcome (and encouraged).

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Grammar Grumbles

Recently a parent engaged me in a detailed grammar conversation. I am not going to go into detail about the conversation, but it does have me thinking deeply about grammar and mechanics in this day and age. As a writer, I want my character's voice to be "authentic" but how much proper language has to be thrown away to achieve that kind of authenticity? And think about the whole idea of a blog. In many ways it is a stream of thought. My thoughts aren't grammatically correct, does that mean that it is okay for my blog to have some errors?

The current issue of Writers' Journal there are two articles on this topic. One, called "How Does Your Character Sound?" by MaryAnn Duffy, has a large section on Written versus Spoken English. It recommends dropping the -ly from words, using who instead of whom, and using me instead of I. It says, "Once a broken rule becomes the norm in speaking, it nudges its way into acceptability in written English." Interesting, don't you think?

The second article, called "Seven Bad Habits of Highly Unsuccessful Writers" by Scott Nicholson, adds more items to the list of things writers should try to do (and not do).

So, where do we stand? For myself, being part of a critique group has taught me more about grammar usage then any book. Looking at edits from writers more talented then myself in the mechanical area help me to recognize my common errors. Now I just have to hope that their way is the one that is currently accepted.

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