Sunday, 1 March 2009

Finished Beginners Course in Grammar

Man, oh man, does my head hurt. As the lovely Elizabeth M Murphy stated at the beginning of the Grammar Workshop I undertook at the ACT Writers Centre, "If you are under the age of 45 in Australia you most likely DON'T have a decent grounding in grammar." See, beyond the very basics - such as nouns are names, verbs are actions - grammar as part of the scholastic syllabus had little to stuff-all attention when I was a kiddy-wink.

So this meant that before the last four weeks of two hours each Thursday night, I didn't know what a conjunction was, or a predicate, couldn't have spotted a subordinate clause if it hit me in the face and don't get me started on prepositions and prepositional phrases!

The question is though, do I know those things now? Well barely, and I have only just scratched the surface of grammar. So has the course helped me?


One of my most common mistakes is the run on sentence. Not always because I make them too long, but because I never knew where to put a comma other than where it kinda looked OK to put one. I've also received further pointers and advice on active voice. I now know where I have been going wrong in mixing up some of my tense. And heaps of other little hints and tips along the way.

It's important to note the course wasn't direct at grammar for fiction or novel writers, in fact it was more about writing for business. But I know that grammar in fiction can also assist in readability so I am very glad I have done the course. Don't think I'm treating this as a panacea for all of my bad writing habits. A book can be written perfectly from a grammar perspective, but still be as dull as dog poo drying on a footpath...


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