1. WhatLibertine
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    WhatLibertine Member

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    Does anyone else worry that their grammar isn't up to scratch?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by WhatLibertine, Aug 18, 2014.

    I enjoy and have recently decided to make a concerted attempt at making it more than just a casual hobby, but I worry that my grammar and technical knowledge of the English language just aren't up to the task.

    For someone with very little education, I don't think my writing is awful, but I have had trouble in making any improvements beyond the habits I picked up at school.

    Does anyone else suffer these doubts? Or have any tips or resources for learning some of the more complex rules without dying of boredom first?

    (I had to look up whether or not to capitalize 'English' when writing this).
     
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  2. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    You have to 'go for it.' There's this thing called voice which levels the playing field, meaning bores however educated remain forever thus, whilst the tiny fish with a sparkle in his eye retains a sporting chance mmmmm depending on the bait. Does that metaphor work? No :0

    Do it, do it, do it...
     
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  3. A.J. Pruitt
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    A.J. Pruitt Member

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    Whatlibertine: if your goal is to have your work published, remember what you are up against. There are hundreds of thousands of writers who have honed their grammar skills to the highest level and are submitting their work for publication. You will be competing against these skilled crafts people.

    If you are staunchly serious about attempting to have your work published, take the time to learn the mechanics of your craft. There are no short cuts or easy avenues to being a finely honed author. If your mind and soul are compelling you to write, then sacrificing the time for the upward learning curve will not be all that difficult. As Matwoolf advised in the above post, "Go for it".
     
  4. yagr
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    yagr Contributing Member

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    Every student has their own style of learning. You have shown yours in your post.

    So you wrote that as well as you could and when you came to something you didn't know - you actually took the time to look it up before posting. How could you fail to improve doing it that way. And I'll bet you don't die of boredom that way too. :)
     
  5. FrodoKreuger
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    FrodoKreuger Member

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    WhatLibertine, while it may not be easy to overcome bad habits - in anything - it is possible and usually worthwhile. That said, I have no idea whether your grammar is actually bad or not. It could be you judge yourself more harshly than you deserve, or it could be that you will improve as you work on your craft over time. Actually, I think most of us, if we're willing to listen to constructive criticism, can improve our skills. For myself, even at 46, I have recently started to improve my writing of sexual scenes as people have pointed out things I could do better. It's a small thing, but it's there.
     
  6. yagr
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    yagr Contributing Member

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    SERIOUSLY? You just left this hanging out there?

    OMG! I just made it worse!
     
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  7. JamesBrown
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    JamesBrown Active Member

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    Very good. I laughed greatly.
     
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  8. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    My grammar is shit. I get around it by writing first person and blaming the narrative voice. :p
     
  9. yagr
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    yagr Contributing Member

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    Me too!...or is it "I, too!"
     
  10. WhatLibertine
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    WhatLibertine Member

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    Thanks for the replies everyone!

    Is this the same as when people refine their technical ability to extremes, in the hope it will compensate for the fact they lack imagination? (I've seen this in musicians a lot too). I have been trying to tell myself this, that as long as I can think of ideas, then everything else can be learnt and developed with practice.

    Great advice, thank you. I certainly agree that in order to make a go of anything, let alone something as competitive as writing, one must give themselves the best chance they can. My problem is that for all the reference books I have bought and worked through, I am yet to find away of absorbing the information and applying it to my writing.

    If I'm being honest, I am hoping the next 3 years as a journalism student will improve my writing ability as I go, so to speak.
     
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  11. huskies
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    huskies Member

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    Mine is awful! However i still write in the hope of someday having it in print.
     
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  12. FrodoKreuger
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    FrodoKreuger Member

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    Yes, I left my "small thing" hanging out there. It's a shame more people didn't take a hold of it and have fun really...
     
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  13. MsScribble
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    MsScribble Member

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    I worry about mine. I just try to be very careful while editing, and when in doubt, you can often google specific questions.
     
  14. aberdeen
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    aberdeen Member

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    There are plenty of sources to turn to for help so just keep on writing and learn as you go.

     
  15. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    @WhatLibertine

    Well, yes to what you said.

    Once you've been writing for a couple of years and get two short stories published on the internet then there is the second tier of Karma. We call it being a 'Creative Writing Tutor.' You get paid for that.

    I think, simply put, one has to dedicate one's life to the word. There is no better life to be found for total nourishment, and I have done all the jobs: mercenary, dustman. Surfing is maybe better or religion, or having a dog.
     
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  16. BoddaGetta
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    BoddaGetta Active Member

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    I find the more reading materials I expose myself to, the better my writing gets.
     
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  17. elynne
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    elynne Active Member

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    I have read published books by well-known authors that have received glowing reviews and that made me want to get out a red pencil and mark up every single darn page. in fact, I can only think of one book I've ever read that contained no errors that I could spot whatsoever--and it was over a thousand pages long! (and TERRIBLE. in a "I can't stop eating these Twinkies" kind of way.)

    the point being, yes, it's worth worrying about, researching, and improving your grammar--it's a very valuable and versatile tool--but if your writing is reasonably legible, your grammar will not make or break your chances of getting something published.
     
  18. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    I've been reading many observations by famous and successful writers on the art of writing, and so far (amongst the type of writer I am reading about) there is one common view. Writing is hard. Writing is laborious. Writing is draining. They seem to hold the same view about writing that I do: if it's not hard, you're not doing it right.
     
  19. Cadavar
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    Cadavar Active Member

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    It’s not that I think my grammar may not be up to scratch. It is more that I know it it’s not up to scratch. Like Whatlibertine my education is minimal and I struggle to make new information stick. My doubts can make me freeze up. I become so frightened that I can’t understand key grammatical points that I feel helpless.


    The thing that keeps me going is that I want to write. I write for myself first. I write because I enjoy it. A writer makes sure to write every day and read every day. These are the rituals I use in my learning. I might not be the best writer, but I am better than the writer I was yesterday.
     
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  20. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    That is, honestly, the only thing that matters.
     
  21. HopingAgain
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    HopingAgain Member

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    I am also struggling with this concern. I don't have a large problem with grammar, but I lack the subtleties and how to connect phrases sometimes. Dangling modifiers abound, and phrases are left hanging in odd places. Occasionally it looks as if I fired commas from a blunderbuss as well. I want to get better and I am looking for great resources to deal with my issues, but seemingly the resources on this issue are all exceptionally slow and dry.

    Mostly, I am concerned because, if I wish to communicate (that's what writing is right?), then I need to have access to a sufficient box of tools to convey the specific nuance of my meaning. This also means that I need a much larger arsenal of useful vocabulary. Most of the tools I have seen for that tell you about all kinds of words that I highly doubt I would find myself using except for self-gratification - "See I used it".
     
  22. Sheriff Woody
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    Sheriff Woody Active Member

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    Thankfully, I do not have to worry about grammar.

    If you are worrying, try reading more often. Read different styles. Different genres. That last sentence is not grammatically correct, but it works. Gives the reading a flow. Rhythm. Keep reading and challenge yourself. Your skills will develop the more you work at them.
     
  23. DromedaryLights
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    DromedaryLights Active Member

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    Grammar is what editor's are for, just go for it. Also, there are about a million other things that are likely to prevent you (or anyone else) from getting published, so why worry about one in particular? Why not instead look at the near hopelessness of the entire affair, give up completely, and then stop even getting out of bed in the morning? I mean, don't do that. I guess my point is that I am of the opinion that with grammar, as with most things, it is good to work on it, but also not to obsess about it. Or something.
     
  24. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    Honestly i have to agree when it comes to mine being sub-par, but it has improved a little bit since a few years ago. Writers have to improve on more than just the creative dynamics and principle to be considered as a persistent example of greatness.
     
  25. Empty Bird
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    Empty Bird Member

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    Reading helps grammar! Trust me on that!

    Write and write and write. Forget about grammar the first draft you write. Grammar can come after. Don't let those squiggly green lines of doom on Microsoft Word entrap you. LIBERATE YOURSELF!! No, no. Basically, grammar shouldn't be a cage for words. I'll have you know, if people spoke in proper English Grammar it would be very hard to get feelings across properly...imagine it...

    "Hey! You didn't use an adjoining sentence clause structure there, mate!"

    Oh, the horror. Grammar will come, grammar will come. It's important, dear me it's important! But the more you read, the better you'll understand it.
     

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