Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Oops



When I write for my blog:

I dangle participles.

I end sentences with a preposition.

I screw up subordinate clauses.

I begin sentences with And or But.

I use too many dashes – (parentheses) and ellipses…

I split infinitives.

I make typos.

i lose the caps.


But (!) I am also quite capable of writing a grammatically correct sentence. (Or should that read, “I am also quite capable of writing a sentence that* is grammatically correct”?) However, there’s a certain sense of freedom and abandonment I experience when I write a blog post. There are no hard and fast rules. Or, at least, there’s no teacher or editor standing over me brandishing a ruler. My knuckles are safe.

Ain’t blogging grand?

Do I think blogging, MSN, text messaging, Twitter (or whatever…) will ultimately be responsible for the demise of the English language and proper grammar usage? Nope. Not as long as people continue to read books. Best teacher ever…

Owning The Elements of Style (Strunk and White) also helps.


* Should I have used "that" or "which"? Check with The Elements of Style.

17 comments:

sherry lee said...

I think the beauty and the joy of blogging is that freedom...the freedom to speak as we might to one another with abandon...to be able to be funny and use humour, to paint a crooked picture or one outside the lines...and I have yet to read anything you've written that would make me sit back and say "oh good grief, does this woman not know anything?!?!" -- you might split infintives (don't we all?!) but at least you "aint" splittin' hairs!!!

Bee said...

Although it bothers me when writers bungle the apostrophe, I think that a lot of good writing is produced (even when we don't follow all of the rules!).

And personally, I don't mind a split infinitive! And I love a dash -

Cid said...

I am a bit of a grammar Nazi myself but I agree that blogging is more about expressing than editing yourself. But I do worry about teenagers' ability to write when I see the messages they leave for one another on Facebook.

Travis Erwin said...

Amen.

oreneta said...

I so totally agree....there is an entirely different set of norms for blogging and good writing is part of it, but not necessarily formal writing, and therein lies the difference. There are some norms that I want, it is one thing to make it scan more like speech or thought processes, it is another to just plain screw up. (Not that I don't)

Gladys said...

Now see I am the same way and then I get all paranoid about having the world's longest run-on sentence and that Mrs. Perkidickidido from 3rd grade will make me write 3 word sentences until my hand cramps and she will not let me write dialogue in the speakers voice. (sucking in a huge amount of air)

Beth said...

sherry lee:
Strange. I used to be obsessive about colouring inside the lines as a child. And now I know there's joy to be found in breaking through barriers - and crossing lines.

bee:
I still find the mistaken use of "it's" and "its" to be jarring but would never presume to think those errors do not occur in my writing!

cid:
It's all about speed and brevity there. I'd check their school essays before abandoning all hope.

travis:
There's writing - and then there's writing. We can have the best of both worlds. As you know.

oreneta:
We all screw up once in a while. That's the beauty of blogging!

gladys:
I consider a well constructed run-on sentence to be a thing of beauty!

VE said...

I thought rules were meant to be broken...

JR's Thumbprints said...

em dash? or en dash? or does it really matter?

how about this one: quit hitting the spacebar twice after every sentence.

i won't mention capitalization.

All Mod Cons said...

That's the problem though. Not enough people ARE reading anymore. Such a waste. Really strange that you should write about this because I was thinking about bringing it up in a post again, but without your wonderful style. More like writing with Wellies.

Attila The Mom said...

I've found that I end up writing the way I talk---if that makes sense. And I think that the best bloggers (at least the ones I enjoy the most)fall into that as well.

When I read their stuff, I can imagine I hear their voices.

Beth said...

ve:
some are - just have to be careful as to which ones you break...

jr:
The two spaces? How many times have you had to correct that in your stories? It's ingrained.

amc:
With or without your Wellies, your style is excellent.
Even as I wrote, "...as long as people continue to read..." I wondered if enough people still do. And what is enough?

attila:
I hear you!

Aunt Reeny's After Thoughts said...

I am an avid reader, always have been. I think it stems from being an only child and having to spend alot of your time alone.

With my blog grammatical rules don't apply. I took linguistics in University, so I can string a proper sentence together if need be. Language is fluid afterall, evolving, ever changing...right right?

Beth said...

reeny:
Totally, for sure... [<- me evolving]

And I'd never take on a linguistics major!

Mrsupole said...

I just love reading how everyone writes anything on their blogs. It is such a great way to communicate our thoughts. I have done all those things in your list. And if I do not go back and double or sometimes triple check what I wrote then I even misspell so many words. My grammar teachers would have a field day with some of the things I have written. And yes I even double check to see if I have put two spaces at the end of each sentence. I must be obsessive or something. And who says we cannot start a sentence with And or But. I do it all the time. I think I talk that way too. I guess I am getting a bad grade. Slapping the brain thoughts right now. Bad, bad, girl. Oh well, who cares. I love to write or read anything.

Thank you for sharing.

God bless.

Trish said...

YES! I have that book too . . . but I still cringe when I post because I know I'm messing up my grammar somewhere.

But -meh- oh well . . . blogging is more interactive, like a conversation, so I say go ahead and dangle your participles, make typos, split infinitives, and keep on over-using those handy dashes and elipses . . . I love 'em.

See? Aren't they handy?

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

I was a law review editor not so very long ago, and what do I do with those skillz? Spell words with a z where there ought to be an s. And I start sentences (like this one) with And or But. Typos? Natch. Also? I use words like natch. These are just a few of my offenses. My book of choice to ignore is The Chicago Manual of Style, which sits on a shelf next to my computer.