Thursday, November 18, 2010

Break the Rules Intentionally, Not Accidentally

Another worthwhile class I attended at the SCWW was taught by agent Roseanne Wells, titled "Play by the (Grammar) Rules - and When Not to."

Roseanne was wonderful. I really enjoyed her no-nonsense approach to grammar rules. Of course, as writers, we *should* know the rules. eh... right... ??

If you're not confident with your base knowledge (wow, that sounded kinda smart), Roseanne suggests these books:

* ELEMENTS OF STYLE by Strunk and White
* The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative by Vivian Gornick

Roseanne commented that there is no shame in not knowing, but it is your responsibility to find out! :)

Here are the grammar rules that always confuse ME, that she spoke about and I took notes on...

1. Whom is an objective pronoun - the receiver of an action
2. Who is a subjective pronoun - the subject of the sentence
3. Use a dash if a person interrupts their own dialogue
4. Use less elipses (did I spell that right?) you know... those three little dots...
5. A semicolon connects two complete sentences that are so very related, they should remain connected and not separated by a period
6. Don't start sentences with BUT
7. At least four words at the beginning of a sentence in a dependant clause before you use a comma
8. Break the rules intentionally, not accidentally

Mmm. Hmm.

What is your least favorite grammar rule? Pet peeves? Share...


  1. Oh those crazy grammar rules! Great post :)

    Thanks so much for stopping by the other day!

    Have a great weekend

  2. Gotta love a rule you can break. Guilty! I start sentences with but... deliberately ;)

  3. But I love starting sentences with But... and using elipses ;)

    Great post :)

  4. I echo Lynda! I start sentences with But, and enjoy it thoroughly. I don't mess with regular grammar rules though, as a rule. Oh yeah!--yes I do...I write sentence fragments all the time. ;o)

    Nice to meet you; I followed you here from the Lovely Lynda's site!

  5. Hi! I'm a new follower. LOL about agents in your sidebar, especially the chocolate part. Hmm, my least favorite grammar rule. Not sure, but I do use 'But' to start sentences and have no intention of stopping. Ha, I'm sure that will come back to bite me.

  6. Thanks for all of the great comments!! I totally agree about the BUT starts (hahahahahaha... that just sounded funny).

    BUT... after this class, I went through my WIP and highlighted all of the sentences that started with BUT.

    I think it's fine to purposefully use it, but if it's over used, I think it might be a problem.

    I altered most of mine in my WIP, but left some.