Style Guide 4
Some argue that correct grammar is not important while writing, but I believe that grammar is salient in order to have good writing. While it is not necessary to have perfect grammar in order to understand what the writer it is saying, I think good grammar creates a sense of professionalism in your writing and shows the readers that you are in fact, a master in your field. Correct grammar, even though it is not needed for understanding someone, allowed for the language to be standardized and provides some uniformity in any language. For example, my Italian professor, who is currently a PHD candidate in the field of Classics, constantly talks about how there are many changes and grammatical arguments in the Italian language. He often compares it to the standardization of the French Language and how the grammar and words are regulated and have to be approved. Learning this fact really changed my perspective on the importance of grammar in the English language. While it is not needed to understand another person, it makes the entire english language more professional and standardized. Although some claim that grammar is not needed at all in writing, it is a paramount component in writing clearly and effectively.
In my English 101 class, we were split into groups and we wrote stories. Through the story writing process, we learned how to write effective and interesting stories while keeping the audience in mind. One of the key components discussed was the importance in grammar. As a class, we decided that grammar should not be a factor in the grading process as long as the audience/reader or the story is able to understand the sentences being communicated. In this style guide, I will use two example sentences that derived from the stories written in class and explain what each of them did effectively as well as ineffectively.
In the first scene of “The Tape”, a story written by one of the groups, the sentences are very descriptive. They paint vivid picture of the scene and provide the readers with a movie-like image of what is going on in the story. However, on the sentence level, some sentences are very long while other are short. For example, the sentence “As we are pretending as if we are completely into the movie, mom continuously talks to us saying, “I see your dad sitting next to you.” By the end of the movie, we are both completely uncomfortable” (P1xie_Stranger et al.) doesn’t make sense in the beginning. As a reader, I was confused about how the previous lines of the scene connect to the line stated above. Correct use of grammar is important here as it confuses the reader. The line would have made more sense if it had stated “Mom continued to act as if we were in the movie and repeated ‘I see your dad sitting next to you.’” The next sentence after the sentence quoted above is “By the end of the movie, we are both completely uncomfortable.” This quote also shows the importance of grammar because I think a common mistake in all stories is the tense. The tense is so important in story telling because if the tenses are different while the story is being told, it causes a lot of confusion for the reader. If you are referring to the same time period, be sure to check your tense as it is a very important part of making sure the audience is understanding what is being communicated. Above were just a few examples defining sentence level concerns and it’s effect on the reader. Next, we will expose a few examples where grammatical or stylistic concerns are handled effectively by the writer.
The first example where there is a mixture of long and short sentences is in “The Tape” as mentioned above. The use of long and short sentences really add to the description and tone of the work as it is a mystery and the short sentences add to the suspense. An example that breaks this convention of long and short sentences is a line in another story “Harmonia.” In Harmonia, one of the characters, Mr. Roccafella, starts of his part off with the sentence, “Day by day. City by city. Spike by spike holding down the thousands of the railroad lines stretching across Indiana” (thePHEONIX et al.) This sentence combines many short sentences, that I interpreted as the process of building a railroad. It mimics construction and the sentence paints a picture of the railroad being built. This breaks the convention of combining long and short sentences, but breaking the convention makes this sentence even better. Also the use of a mix of past and present tense makes the story better in both “The Tape” and “Harmonia” as it is important to have a backstory to the main point of the writing. Also, it paramount not to mix the tenses of your writing to the point where the reader is confused. For example, one cannot say “I went to the zoo. I see a giraffe.” Because it implies you went to the zoo yesterday and you see a giraffe now. Mistakes such as these were in all the stories for English 101 projects,
Grammar could either make a work a masterpiece or a catastrophe. While simple errors (ones I’m sure this style guide is filled with) are understandable if they don’t have a negative effect on the reader, other errors need to be be fixed in order for the writing to be clear. Some writing conventions can be broken in order to improve the writing, but the overall goal of writing is to communicate effectively; therefore, it is important to have good grammar. The main idea to get from this style guide is matching the characteristics of the sentence, such as tense, length, etc to match the message and tone of the work. The devices should paint a picture of the ideas being expressed in each sentence. Grammar provides the tools to paint the picture for the audience/reader.
“The Tape.” Storium. Scene 1.
“Harmonia.” Storium. Scene 1.