Friday, March 10, 2006

A Shorty: The Truth About Gramer, er, Grammar

Shorties are just little tidbits we will post now and then. Here is an example:

A Publishing Fallacy: If my book is good enough, grammar errors shouldn't count against me. Agents and editors only look for grammar mistakes because they are picky or want to show people how smart they are.

The Truth in Short: The basic premise of this idea is muddled thinking. Grammar, punctutation, and mechanics are the tools that writers use to make up for the lack of mannerisms, vocal inflection, and body language in the written word. Mistakes in these areas don't signal that you don' t know some arbitrary or archaic English rules; they signal that you aren't thinking like your reader as you try to express yourself. You have to be able to use these "tools of the trade" to compensate for a lack of visual and auditory communication cues. It's not that they count for you or against you; no one is keeping score. A painter has different colors to express his ideas, and writers have words, sentences, commas, semi-colons, exclamation points, etc., to express theirs.

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