Rules are Foundational   11 comments

What grammar rules have you broken on purpose?


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Rules Exist

I am a firm believer in the rules of grammar. They help us be clear communicators. A lot of what’s wrong in this world today are the people who think they can just change what you say or write based on their own analysis that changes what you actually tried to communicate.

I don’t buy the argument that it doesn’t matter and if I start to read a book that is filled with grammatical errors, I stop reading it when the errors start to make my head hurt.


Rules are sometimes too constraining. So I do break the rules occasionally. In Daermad Cycle, a Celtic-influenced fantasy, there is a distinct lilt to the Celdryan sections of the books. That requires breaking some American English grammar rules. I think it adds a flavor to the series that sets it apart.

Further, I often have my characters in my American-setting novels use non-standard grammar in dialogue because people do speak that way. They aren’t so formal when they’re just talking with their friends. That doesn’t mean you can’t understand what they said. While I love authors who are great at dialects, but that isn’t really what I’m aiming for. My people speak English, they just don’t worry much about whether their sentences would pass the grammar Nazis’ scrutiny.

Rules are important foundation in writing, but they’re also subject to adjustment as needed for the story.

Posted February 13, 2023 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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11 responses to “Rules are Foundational

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  1. Amen.


  2. I’ve had the privilege of living in several parts of the United States. I think its a shame that regional accents seem to be disappearing.


    • I agree. Alaskans mostly sound like wherever our parents came from — or like military brats, but the one regional dialect we have here is the Native village dialect. It’s kind of flat — same inflection on all syllables, which mimics the native languages few of them still speak. I’m working on a project that includes some of that and just had an alpha reader tell me it was “disrepectful”. Sigh!


      • I’m in the side that believes preserving that history is respectful. I stumbled across a site on Youtube that has recordings of some of the US regional accents and found it fascinating.


      • Was it a vocal coach guy who could change his accent on a dime? I LOVED watching that.


      • The youtube site has videos of of residents of various locations having conversation among themselves and with the film makers. The one I found first was filmed in Pittsburgh, and I had a hard time picking out the regionalisms because I grew up hearing them.


      • I haven’t seen that one. Alaskans sound a lot like military brats — our parents come from everywhere and so we don’t sound like we’re from anywhere…unless we’re talking with someone with a definitive regional accent, then we tend, over the course of a conversation, to start picking up their cadences. I thought it was just me until I started paying attention and it’s the whole lot of us. A linguist at the University told me he’d noted it too. He thinks it’s because Alaskan kids may adjust their accents when speaking with one parent or another who come from different parts of the country. And then we go out into public and we want to sound like everyone else, but everybody else is from everywhere too. He suggested that if I moved to somewhere that had a regional accent, after a while, I’d sound a lot like one of the locals and not even realize I was doing it.


  3. The rules are there to help make sure we can understand one another, but there’s still room for individuality. @samanthabwriter from
    Balancing Act


  4. Absolutely right. Descriptions need to be readable, without jarring errors but speech has to sound like speech, not like rehearsed perfection.


  5. Dialogue should not be stilted, but needs to be understood by the reader. It’s a fine line for sure.


  6. Great points!


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