Follow the rules… or not. Whatever.
As part of a critiquing website that I occasionally take part in, we are told to make recommendations. Dont’ slam the person in the critique and realize that grammar rules are meant to be broken. They are more guidelines .
That is all fine and good, until I critiqued a story for a guy who could not get his quotations right. It drove me insane. He sometimes had the punctuation on the inside, sometimes on the outside, sometimes he didn’t even close it.
Because of time, I edited one chapter, sent that to him, and then edited the other two later on in the week. In the between time, he made a comment that caused me to think he is still maybe late highschool or early college. He writes a lot–yes!–but I think I misjudged his age.
As such, at the end of my critique, I sent him a quick summary of quotation rules, and phrased it as, If you didn’t know these, well, here go. Soon afterwards, I wrote a post about quotations as an FYI.
This may seem like a side note, but my brother is going to school for graphic design. He is so good at what he does that he is making things like videos and ecards for the school. He gets frustrated though with video tutorials that say something along the lines of, “Here’s the rule of thirds. But you know what? This is art. Be creative.”
This is his opinion, and as such, I think it very much applies to writing.
Follow the rules of grammar, unless you can give me a good reason why you aren’t.
So I’m not saying that you can’t be creative with how you present information. Writing is creativity. But make sure you have a good reason why you don’t follow that rule before you decide to break it.
Great blog post! Sadly, I think that a lot of people just don’t care about grammar, though they love to write. This is one of my pet peeves. I think if you want to be a writer, then learn to write correctly…just my thought.
I completely agree. I found it really sad the number of grammatical errors while reading a review for the play in my area community theater. I suppose they don’t realize it makes me take them less seriously.
You brought up a good point about them being taken seriously. While I might like their idea, their writing just shows how much they really care! Thanks for bringing up a very good point!
Thanks for the post. And I agree that you can break some rules for the right reason. But your readers need to know that you did it with a purpose and not because you’re careless or grammatically challenged. And how do they know that? Because everything else you write is perfect.