Posted in writing

Style vs Grammar

When we were kids, (Or adults. No shame) We all learned grammar rules for the English language. Periods goes at the end of sentence, comma goes here. ETC, ETC.

But what about when your style goes against these rules? Is it okay to break these rules?

Let me give you an example.

When I’ve been working on my novel, there’s many many scenes with dialogue. (Obviously, it would be pretty boring if there wasn’t), and sometimes my characters doesn’t always speak in full sentences. This is based off real life. I don’t always speak in full sentences. Even people who have very high education don’t do this.

It’s part of being human.

Now when you’re writing description or narration, you should always write in full sentences. You don’t say “then went to the store.” or “the chair was not.” These aren’t complete sentences.

But is it okay to break these rules for dialogue? In my opinion, yes.

If everyone in the novel spoke like a robot, it would sound really.. odd. (Unless your character is a robot or has this manner of speaking as a quirk).

Another one is wordiness. This is something I’m guilty of. I am getting better, but still have I problem. I use way way way too many words!

However, there’s been times when my beta reader says this isn’t necessary, it should go. And I think no, it’s part of my style. I want it there.

Sometimes grammar rules are made for breaking.

Of course, there’s some rules you can’t break. I’ve heard of authors who don’t capitalize any of their words, do not use correct grammar or refuse to spell certain words correctly. Please don’t do this.

Look at the difference.

i went up the hill picked up bonny and we went to uncle arthurs house

Vs.

I went up the, picked up Bonny and we went to uncle Arthur’s house.

In my opinion, the first line looks like it was written by a seven year old. The second one looks more professional and like an adult.

Don’t do little writing quirks because you think it makes you sound edgy or cool. It just looks dumb. We’re all rolling our eyes.

Anyway, that’s about it. What do you think? Can grammar rules be broken for style, or should we never even touch these rules?

Have a great day!

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Hi, I'm Ames! Welcome to my blog. About me Female Favorite foods: Apples, fried chicken and grilled cheese sandwiches. Hobbies: Traveling, reading, learning languages, writing and cooking. Favorite TV show: Big Bang theory. Hopes for this blog: People I don't personally know read my blog.

5 thoughts on “Style vs Grammar

  1. There is a universal grammar, as Chomsky says. This grammar should be followed, or else you are spouting nonsense.

    In style though, you can be full formal or informal. But then in creative writing, you’ll probably use informal.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Narration must follow all the rules. The Chicago Manual of Style (16 Edition) lays down all the rules. But wait! Why is the manual in it’s 16th edition? In 1980, no one ever heard of a .com, a SKU number or a website. Surely it didn’t take 16 editions just to catch up with current technology?

    The answer is, the rules can, and do change over time. But the rules which change are not about sentence fragments, or punctuation. New words are officially added each year to the English language.

    I agree, many characters will speak in fragments, use slang (current or old-school) or speak in a manner somewhat offbeat.

    The thing to remember is, once canon is set for a character, the author must honor the character and honor canon.

    As to writing quirks, if King or Rowling chooses to use a quirk, it’s heralded as “pure, literary genius.” We all put our pants on the same way, so if another author chooses to use a quirk, and it works for their story, then who’s to say they are wrong?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As they say, rules are made to be broken. You bring up some interesting points. Of Course, Jo Rowling can do whatever she wants and get away with it. I guess as long as it works.

      Like

  3. True. The difference is, when a publisher makes decisions regarding what a given author is allowed to publish, the reason is always guided by money.

    Rowling or King is a no-brainer, because a built-in audience/buyer is already there.

    No matter what any publisher, TV or movie production company says, money is always the bottom line. I’m not saying this is a wrong attitude either. Too many failures, and they are out of business. Only the government can fail again & again and keep going l, because they operate on OPM (other people’s money).

    Liked by 1 person

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