1. anthony101
    Offline

    anthony101 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2010
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0

    What is the code for grammar?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by anthony101, Jan 3, 2010.

    Full stops, Commas, Apostrophes, brackets, hyphens, etc
    How are you supposed to know where to put them?

    I havent got a clue. Im winging it each time and as I often have to write press releases for my own business they end up taking a day. I can reel it off in my head and it sounds great. But as soon as I begin writing it down it goes pear shaped because Im uncertain where to put those damn symbols. I eventually get there by checking how similar sentences are constructed in magazine articles but its not ideal. ( Im not stealing content, only checking to see where there commas and hyphens are.)....and did that last sentence need to be in brackets??. Im not trying to write great literature, obviously. Just stuff that reads well enough and reflects my personality a little. My lack of skills force me in a way to write bland run of the mill copy.

    Just looking for advice on how best I might learn this.

    PS
    in my defence I left school at 15 with zero qualifications
     
  2. jwatson
    Offline

    jwatson Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2009
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    canada
    Hi anthony, welcome to the forums.

    I think grammar is learned in school, but there are other ways as well, obviously. The internet is probably straight where I would go seeing as a full tutorial on grammar would take a while over this thread.

    I can suggest that once you know how to use a couple of these, you can write if you are feeling impatient and avoid the use of anything you are unsure of using. Does that make sense? Kind of reminds me of my french class, where my teacher would tell us to think of words we know how to use...

    Besides the internet, have you considered an introduction to grammar course? Or maybe a tutor? I don't think it's ever to late to learn. Good luck and I hope I helped.

    J
     
  3. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    There are writer's handbooks you can use. Every writer should have Strunk and White's The Elements of Style. I also recommend having a copy of the Little, Brown Handbook. The latter was a required core reference at my university.

    I also use the Scott Foresman Handbook for Writers. For really picky punctuation and grammar issues, I have the Chicago Manual of Style, even though it is mainly intended as a journalism reference.

    Using the Internet as a grammar reference is tricky. There are some good sites, particularly associated with good universities, but there is also a great deal of incorrect and questionable advice too.
     
  4. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    what you're referring to is just the punctuation side of grammar... and for that, you should get yourself a good punctuation guide... you can email me for a 'tools of the trade' list and links to good online sites, for quick reference...

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  5. anthony101
    Offline

    anthony101 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2010
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the replies.

    As someone rightly pointed out, Im just talking about the punctuation side of grammar which end up affecting what I want to say because if Im not sure of a commas position I change the sentence often diluting the point or the interest factor.

    I think this is a really tricky area to learn. yes, it is supposed to have been learned at school but as I was part of the first wave of kids in the 70's put in to the then British socialist governments comprehensive school experiment. It was the beginnings of the liberalisation and kid glove treatment common in schools today. The teachers basically left me to my own devices but in actual fact completely failed me. I just happened to self educate (sort of) after I left school, but its the fundamentals I'm missing.

    Can someone tell me if there are rules as to where punctuation goes?. That's what I really want to know. Someone told me there are some successful writers out there that don't allow their publishers to punctuate their books accurately. Is this true. are punctuations absolutely necessary.?

    Thanks :)
     
  6. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Yes, there are, and the books I listed cover them well.
     
  7. WickedWriter
    Offline

    WickedWriter New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2010
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    West L.A.
    There are two books that you need to have: Little, Brown Handbook (maybe I'm biased because of my connection with Little, Brown but it's still great.

    The other is The Elements of Style. This is a MUST. It'll help you and improve your punctuation dramatically.
     
  8. ipromise
    Offline

    ipromise New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2010
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    NorCal
    Anthony, for what it's worth, you actually have decent grammar and punctuation.
     
  9. Rei
    Offline

    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Messages:
    7,869
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Kingston
    Those little guide books, and checking with similar sentences are just fine. Your lack of formal education has nothing to do with your ability to write well. Just relax and enjoy it.
     
  10. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    ...of course there are...

    ...poet e e cummings was the most famous of non-punctuators... but publishers will generally make the decision, over the author's objections, unless the author is a famous one with the clout of bestsellers under her/his belt...

    ...punctuation is definitely necessary in prose, for without it, there would be no sentences and no way to tell how the words are to be read...

    ...the books listed above are helpful, but you should also have a specifically-aimed punctuation guide, for navigating the fine points of the rules and regs... i recommend two in my 'tools of the trade' list:

    ‘PUNCTUATION, PLAIN AND SIMPLE’ by e & j alward
    paperback, $5.98 us
    barnes and noble
    a ‘must’ for all writers, at any level of expertise

    a good alternative is: ‘PUNCTUATE IT RIGHT' by shaw

    and i'm sure there are other good ones out there, but do NOT rely on the popular 'Eats, Shoots & Leaves'!... while a fun read to many, it's not really a good primer...
     

Share This Page