Proper Grammar in Writing

Often good grammar is just good sense, logic, and awareness of what you write. The point of grammar is to express thoughts in order for them to be understood by as many as possible. It is the logical arrangement of ideas.

Someone writing a good story should worry more about the continual advancement of the plot than a dangling participle. In the instance of using a dangling participle, they are sometimes a refreshing change the cadence and many great writers have used them.

Let’s see and example:

Looking through the window, George saw Pete drive up in his car.

George looked through the window and saw Pete dive up in his car.

The dangling participle (the first sentence), though grammatically in question, is more active or moving. Indeed, much depends on the reader’s voice, but a writer’s voice can help the reading to feel more alive or a feeling that the action of a character should take precedence.

Often we hear the expression, “the ear of the writer.” If you, as a writer, have developed a voice listen to it. That voice may be how the sentence sounds best, to you—the writer. Does it ring true and clear? It may be that “gut” feeling that this is the best way to say something. However, it must make sense. Have someone read it in the structure or context it is being developed.

Don’t sacrifice good writing or a good story for the sake of good or subjective grammar.

Writing simple, direct, and declarative sentences is sometimes the cure when a question about grammar looms.

Here’s a little trick I use. If I write something that is grammatically incorrect or unsure about and yet expresses the thought better than if corrected, I make it a quote by a character. You can’t argue with a quote; that’s the way it was said—period.

Grammar is a boring subject to most. More, much, much more can be written, but that’s enough for now.

Grammar is for grammarians and writing is for readers. Readers outnumber grammarians 1,000,000 to 1.


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