Notes on grammar

Starting today, my students will be visiting this blog for references. I hope you will find several posts useful, that is, if you are not my student. IF you are, then I suggest you better read this post. 🙂 (What an imposing teacher I am!).

Well, as I have told you last week, grammar rules change over time. The general idea is that usage should dictate your diction and structure. As a good headline writers, you should be able to convey the message in fewer words as possible but with the maximum possible impact.

Arrant Pedantry writes about the mistakes grammar-rules writers make. He lists down several mistakes prescriptionists try to impose. This post should give you the idea how important context is when it comes to analyzing sentence structures.

Some notes on his posts:

  1. Though AP says that most grammar writers confuse grammar with punctuation, spelling and usage, it is important for you to know the three of those. As a copyreader, you should be able to detect if a set of words is written so poorly it confuses the reader. Again, your standard is Standard English Usage.
  2. You should have started to compile a sort of stylebook for your school papers. I have given you links to uploaded stylebooks which could guide you in making your own. Once the stylebook is set, you should stick to it.
  3. There are neologisms that may not be in the dictionaries yet. However, if you really want to use them (especially if the message you want to convey requires you to), discern whether or not your general reader will understand. Again, you don’t need to impress your readers; you need to convey the message properly.
  4. Focus on AP’s point number 12. It should give you an idea how important usage is.

My students only have less than a week before their competitions. I hope this could help. They are only one step from the Nationals 🙂

PS. Sean P has pointed out several mistakes on this post. Thanks Sean!


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