Thursday, February 23, 2012

"I have spent most of the day putting in a comma and the rest of the day taking it out." — Oscar Wilde
While Googling, for the millionth time, a grammar rule. I came across the above quote by Oscar Wilde and was glad to learn I wasn't alone in the grapple for grammar. Why do I have this struggle with grammar? Because long ago in a classroom far away, I tuned out my High School English teacher as she droned on and on about colons vs. semi colons or how to break up a quote with a comma. Little did I know my dream of being a stewardess would morph into one of being a writer and I would actually need to use those grammar skills I tuned out. Unlike my friend Rita Crayon Huang, whom I refer to as my Grammar Guru, I did not have a teacher who impressed upon me the NEED to learn grammar. Instead, my teacher left me to my own 9th grade devices. You know, the important things like clothes, food and friends. Of course I still find clothes food and friends important, I just wish I would have found grammar rules equally as important or, at least a little more important.
As I continue to wrestle with my shortcomings in grammar, I am comforted by this quote from E. B. Whitebeloved children's author and co-author of the mini grammar bible, The Elements of Style. "Writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar." If a master like Mr. White can move forward believing that the faith in writing is more important than the grammar, then so can I. Of course the nagging question is; did this quote come before or after co-authoring The Elements of Style?

 Since it is doubtful that this far from 9th grade I will ever master grammar as well as Mr. White. I have come to rely on a plethora of grammar sites to guide me through the grammar gamut. But, I am forever curious what other tricks, tips, or shortcuts are there to the correct use of grammar? How do you manage to use grammar properly in your writing? Do you use grammar properly in your writing? Are you a grammar guru or grammar Googler (like me)? If you are a Googler, what sites help you? If you are at the level of guru, please share any tips that might help move me from Googler to apprentice.

If you like to Google Grammar, here are a few sites that I use to answer the burning question: Where does that comma go Purdue Owl, Grammar Girl, The Guide to Grammar & Writing. I am sure there are many more helpful grammar sites and I would love to hear which ones you use. Since, like Oscar Wilde, I actually do spend a good part of my writing putting in and taking out commas.


nutschell said...

I love that quote! I usually check out Grammar Girl and Purdue--thanks for the other link :)

Scribbles From Jenn said...

You are welcome Nutschell. I love that quote too. It inspires me to keep moving forward as I remember; even the greats had trouble with commas.

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