Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Winner/ Breaking Grammar Rules

The winner of Tammy Barley's novel, "Love's Rescue" is...

ELAINE MILLER from Splashes of Serenity. Congratulation, Elaine! I know Tammy will be thrilled, since you said you'll be sharing this novel with your Kentucky relatives.

Breaking Grammar Rules
As an example of how I’ve been trained in proper grammar usage, I recently caught myself saying to my DH, “I have two milk chocolates with which to trade,” instead of, “I have two milk chocolates to trade you with.”

I don’t think ending a sentence with a preposition is as taboo as it used to be, especially in fiction. You want your characters to sound realistic, and no one says, “To which movie are we going?”

My husband likes to tell the story of Winston Churchill making fun of this rule by saying, “Putting a preposition at the end of a sentence is something up with which we will not put.”

Sometimes we need to break grammar rules, but it helps to know them so you can break them in the right places.

How much of a grammar stickler are you? What mistakes irk you most?


  1. I've learned to take more liberties as well with them. Like phrases and not full sentences. It's done now all the time!

  2. I'm like you, it's flooded my day-to-day dialogue. I'll say something grammatically correct (and stuffy) to my four-year-old and think, Why am I bothering?

    I agree with you, we want to sound realistic in writing. Some phrasing, even with its broken grammar so common, draws less attention.

    Congrats to the winner!

  3. Terri: Yes. If you read some of the best selling modern novels, they are filled with fragments. Drives my English Compostition major son nuts!

  4. Janna: Your four year old? How cute! She'll be the most proper speaker in her preschool class.

  5. Jeanette, just LOVE you.
    Hey, I'm a grammar stickler...but one thing that's been slipping into my writing is starting sentences with prepositions. My old high school and college grammarian instructors are flipping over in their graves!!!

    Blessings, you dear one.
    (Thought about US as I wrote my post today.)

  6. Woo Hoo!!! Celebrating my win on St. Patrick's Day. Don't believe it is the luck of the Irish, but the sovereignty of God. He knows I need to read a good book and The Good Book. Thanks for the contest! Thanks for writing for Him!

  7. Happy St. Patty's Day!

  8. First, let me say congratulations to Elaine. It makes me feel good to know someone has a great new author to read.

    Then, Jen, the grammar error I frown at is not necessariy a grammar thing. I am reading a book that has and adverb and an "ing" word in the same sentence.

    I have fallen into the trap of ending a sentence with at preposition. When I do, I hear my fifth grade teacher say not to.

  9. I'm not a strict grammarian; when I'm working on my fiction, I break rules. I try to follow them more closely in professional communication, both for writing and for work. At work, sometimes I think it makes my writing a little bit conspicuous because most of my co-workers aren't very grammar-conscious. I do find, though, that I don't know all the rules, so even when I'm trying to follow them, I miss the mark sometimes. Judging from my experience and the comments of others here, grammar and sentence structure aren't taught as strictly and thoroughly now as they were a generation ago, or possibly in different school systems.

  10. Congrats to Elaine!

    I'm a pretty big grammar stickler (I am an English teacher, after all), but when it comes to writing natural dialogue, some of the rules must be broken. :-)

  11. I think to make our stories more now and more relatable, we have to use language that is used today. Morph it a little as society changes. :O)

  12. My biggest pet peeve is when I hear someone say, "I seen Patti and Anrea at the Kroger's."

  13. Happy St. Patty's day! I'm a huge grammar rule breaker as my crit partner will attest and I'm not too sure she's thrilled with me. However, I aim to please that audience of one myself and I get the feeling He's OK with it. :) XOXOXO

  14. Certain grammar just "ain't right." But I always think, hey, maybe I can use that somewhere in my writing. Now I find myself listening more. :P

  15. Congrats to Elaine!

    I'm not a stickler, especially in dialogue. Let's face it, an 8-year-old boy does not talk in complete sentences. :)



    Jeannette, I know exactly what you mean. People say that here but it's:

    "I done seen Leroy and Patty at the Wal-Marts!" I have to laugh!


  17. Hi Jeanette,
    I, too, am a huge stickler (as I posted in my blog a short while back). The one that bothers me most lately is making plurals into possessives with apostrophes. I see it everywhere! Especially worrying when these things come home in school notices. Hmmm.... But, I do break the rules constantly in my writing. I think people can only do it effectively if they know them in the first place and use them when appropriate. Then the writing looks more varied and interesting.

  18. I tend to notice the sentences ending in a preposition in my writing and I try to avoid it. But in dialogue I think there are a lot of grammatical rules that can be broken for the sake of sounding like people really talk.


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