Palmerston North, New Zealand

What is Grammar

What is Grammar

grammar-389907_1920Grammar – I have noted many different authors and readers see Grammar as something different.  Is it spelling errors, comma type errors or using the incorrect word – like being or been.  These two I was for ever mixing up and I probably still do

Now my main issue with Grammar is about the country you are from or living in.  Each English-speaking country has a slightly different system, meaning in a book review, unless they know previously, an author may get remarks on their Grammar.

Well drat.  I’m British and I live in New Zealand.  I’ve read books from UK, USA and NZ authors, it is no wonder my own Grammar is messed up.  I must admit one of the things I really dislike (from traditional publishing houses) is finding an English Historical book  – Regency Romance – written with American spelling.  There was no American Spelling in Britain in 1812, it makes a book look …unprofessional – in my opinion .

A book written in English History should be in English.  In fact books written about England or based in England should be in UK English. Dialects meanwhile should be about where a character is from.  I stopped reading the Regency books, the American spelling in a none American book irritated me far too much.  It is another reason I love reading Indie Author books, because we can write in our English which to me makes great sense.  However, we do need to let our readers know which English the book is written in.

Going on to comma’s etc, I find to many are used in American English.  I find some of them puzzling.  I was taught to either use a comma or the word AND when you take a breath. Since then I have learnt to use comma’s a little bit more – What I love about my editor is seeing how things should be.  Most I do agree with, some I don’t, however it is an eye-opener to be sure. This new thing with a comma plus AND is weird, though I’m getting used to it now.

Fullstops – A period to the US authors.  What a laugh I had working that one out the very first time.  Why is it considered correct to use only one space after a full stop?  Is it a space-saving exercise from tradition publishing?  I find it odd, and certainly don’t like it.  I was taught two spaces after a fullstop.  At least now I know how to remedy this after a draft is finished.  What do Indie Author’s think about this?

Speech marks is another one I have issues with.  Most authors use which is of course correct, some use what I call quote marks Why?  Still haven’t found out, though if someone could enlighten me, I’d be delighted to know.

FACEBOOK – I post like anyone else, and one thing I dislike being told in public I have an error.  I generally don’t care, after all it’s Facebook. I like to chat and post things more quickly.  Some work is draft work or just for fun.  Does one really need to edit.  I only edit when I think it is necessary. If anyone finds an error though, please don’t post for all to see…PM me.  I do check my blog posts.  Though still miss things. So now is the time to comment on my grammar.  I am sure some is incorrect in places…

There are so many ways to write, so much to learn and build on.  My learning curve is extending, though I still write in  easy English.  I have no idea what the average reading age in most English-speaking countries are.  How much does a reader notice on grammar, the none professional, the ones who pick up a book to read because they can, because they enjoyed the series…?

On a personal level I’ve had some good reviews yet the same book in another country mentioned copy-editing.  This goes to show how different readers read.

Comments welcome.  I love to learn.

6 Responses

  1. The two spaces after a period, or full-stop, is a typewriting convention that developed with monospaced typefaces such as courier. Two spaces were added to make sure readers spotted the full stop between sentences. With the advent of word processing and the proportional typefaces used in typesetting, the rule reverted to a single space after periods (to save print space on paper). The two spaces were no longer necessary and, in some cases, not even detectable to the readers’ eye.

    In fact many of the things we learned in typing class had to be discarded with the transition to modern word processors. The older word processors, such as the first Word Perfect and XY write, were developed to resemble a typewriter interface. But Microsoft Word modeled their software after typesetting once the laser printer was introduced and changed the landscape forever.

  2. Mick Canning says:

    It’s a minefield…

  3. Being a non-native teacher of English, I tend to be sensitive about grammar issues, but not the local nuances so much, which is normal, I suppose. Historically speaking, I get your point about British vs. American spelling and grammar, but in contemporary fiction, I don’t really mind. Any standard is fine. Every street block has its own slang anyway nowadays, in all languages, not just English.
    And sadly, you are right – many readers will not even notice errors. I say sadly, because books, in my opinion, should be the ones to develop language skills and foster correct grammar usage. Reading should make us love the language, too, not just the story.
    Overall, I believe people tend to be critical over things too much nowadays, lashing out on people online. It’s gotten to easy and humans are prone to easy.
    The meme which says ‘Don’t be too critical about people making mistakes when they speak English as a second language; it only means they can speak at least one other language’ (loosely quoted here), has made me a bit less meticulous about correcting people’s grammar in public places. I still see it, but I keep quiet. Nobody likes to be corrected much. But books, yes, I believe we should strive to keep the language in books as clear of grammar mistakes as possible.

  4. Sent you a PM as well. Also answered some of the questions you posted here.

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