Grammar and driving on the wrong side of the road

At our meetings, we often end up chatting about grammar. There seems to be an assumption that grammar changes all the time. I’m not so sure. Words do of course, but not grammar – even going back to Shakespeare, the structure isn’t all that different.

Rules do change for different mediums – readers are much more forgiving of conventions on text or twitter – but not books so much.

One of my favourite books on the subject, I forgot to mention yesterday, was Strunk and White, ‘The Elements of Style’ (EB White of Charlottes Web fame). First written in 1919 and published in 1957. It’s first edition quickly sold 2 million copies. My edition is 1979. It’s 92 pages, great index and an easy read. Excellent advice on active voice and omitting needless words, not explaining too much and loads more.

I read it every now and then, as a reminder, and is my go to book for checking on the rules.

I think grammar and style are like road rules. Apart from police, no one really cares if you go a little over the speed limit or don’t completely stop at a stop sign. But driving on the wrong side of the road … might be a thrilling ride, and mandatory for car chases, it can be a bit of a problem. IMG_4191.JPG

Author: Scifantor

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1 thought on “Grammar and driving on the wrong side of the road”

  1. Interesting article, Janis… I must say that I completely disagree, but I respect your opinion 🙂 Grammar, just like language and vocabulary, constantly changes.

    When I look at grammar rules and conventions, they appear to be different for every English-speaking country. Each government has its own style guide, which is constantly under review. An acceptable use of a comma in one country (or century) is not acceptable in another.

    Driving on the wrong side of the road may be inherently bad, but as long as the other drivers can see you coming it shouldn’t be a real problem. My personal take on grammar is this… If you can tell your story without throwing the reader out through poor use of grammar, then go for it!

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