Monday, March 19, 2012

Ignore Grammar Rules?

You know, some people are like the grammar police and cringe everytime a tiny mistake is made in writing. Other people say that you can only break the grammar rules once you've mastered them and know what you're doing. And some others think they can simply pretend to have mastered the rules so that they can break them without knowledge or intention.


I recently read in WRITER'S DIGEST magazine: "Go ahead: End a sentence with a preposition. Liberate yourself from 10 needless nagging worries. When you return to your writing, you may just find your creativity has increased--tenfold!" (WD Magazine, September 2011, p.5).

While I agree that during the drafting process you shouldn't worry about grammar ... just be free and write ... I also think that during revisions you need to buckle down and make sure you've got it correct in the places that matter most. And when you break the rules, do it intentionally and with purpose.

Do you worry about grammar while writing your first draft?


  1. I don't purposely try to break the rules but sometimes I do. Do I feel liberated? I'm not sure that's the exact word I'd choose.

  2. I think grammar is majorly important, but I don't necessarily sweat about it during the first draft. I worry more about it when I'm editing. :)

  3. I find it difficult to write a first draft without editing it - I know, I know! So... I guess I sort the grammar out as I go along. If something ends up sounding pompous to my ears with the grammar corrected, I just re-do the sentence. I don't like rules as a rule, but bad grammar can sound so amateurish! (Please don't check this comment for grammatical errors!)

  4. Yes I do. Too much! I think it's because I'm currently finishing my English degree. I'm paranoid about grammar because I need those A's!!

    But I try to tell myself while drafting to just get the story out. That I can bring out the red pen later. Easier said than done, but excellent advice!


  5. I'm not one who cringes. I spot grammar mistakes but I'm not anal about them. I do try to use proper grammar as much as I can and in line with character voices.

    There are times when ending a sentence with a preposition is fine, especially when rewriting the sentence and word choices needed to do it, would be too cumbersome. We're writing fiction, so why would I use major compound sentence so as not to leave the prep on end, when I can just let it be. lol!


  6. I sort of watch what I'm writing, but usually I just plow forward, grammar mistakes and all.

  7. I think it's okay to break the rules sometimes, but not too often.

  8. I don't think about it at all during the first draft. No one is going to see that thing but me.

  9. I don't worry about grammar during drafting, but I'm aware of it always. :)

  10. I'm much more flexible with grammar in dialogue. I want it to read how the person speaks, and that often means incorrrectly.

    Moody Writing
    The Funnily Enough

  11. I'm probably going against the flow when I say that I pay attention to the rules right from the outset. I find it easier than going back and correcting everything.

    Having said that, I also find it easy to apply the rules as I write. Spending so many years as a programmer, where you have to pay attention to a vast rulebook of language syntax, it's become second nature.

  12. Not exactly while writing the first draft, though I would definitely revise it and make sure I'm following the rules!

    Anyhow, as an English teacher, it's just natural that I use correct grammar while writing anything, even if it is a first draft or quick notes or what have you.

    Duncan In Kuantan

  13. Yes, I worry too much during the first draft, inner editor over my shoulder. I'd love to go bak to the days of just writing blindly.

    1. Ah! I mean back, not bak. Where's my editor now? Haha.

  14. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so I do watch for them on the first draft. Slows me down but it's less clean up later.

  15. I do worry somewhat . . . I want to be able to read my first draft through as easily as possible, however, I think being too nit-picky about the grammar in the first draft can take the attention off of the story you're trying to create.