English is a very widely spoken language across the globe, and its key function is to allow for communication, which entails talking or writing as well as understanding between two or more people. Grammar is an important part of the English language because it standardizes the way people speak, write, and learn the English language. Grammar can also significantly change the meaning of a sentence. To demonstrate this point, grammar enthusiasts often use the example: “Let’s eat grandpa” as compared to “Let’s eat, grandpa.” One sentence implies that the speaker wants grandpa to be eaten while the other implies the speaker wants to eat with grandpa. Although grammar is a valuable tool in many areas, the primary function of English is effective communication. Authors of stories may choose to follow or break grammatical conventions based on the context of the piece. In professional writing, for example, proper grammar is crucial, but for casual reads, it may be beneficial, sometimes even more meaningful, to sway away from grammar rules to powerfully get a message across. In the English language, complete thoughts are separated by a single period, and a new thought starts with a capital letter. In a lighthearted love story written for teenagers, however, breaking the grammar rules associated with the usage of punctuation, specifically periods, can more accurately portray the ideas of an author.
The authors of “Unexpected Love” appeal to the teenage audience by misusing periods. In scene 2, Marissa says, “This might be weird…but there’s something about you…I don’t know…that just seems different…say…do you want to dance?” (I_AM_ME. et al, Storium,com) Although periods are not meant to be used in three’s, and they are not supposed to be followed by lower case letters as part of the same thought, the authors made a stylistic choice to incorporate these periods to help the audience better understand Marissa’s feelings and the situation that is taking place. The periods create pauses in the flow of the sentence, indicating that Marissa is nervous and getting out of her comfort zone as she is attempting to initiate a dance with Dexter, a kind and studious boy she found interest in at her senior prom. The pauses also make the reader more curious and interested to find out how she will make her move and how Dexter will respond to it. This usage of periods allows the readers to read the thought in the way that it is spoken, which makes the reading so much more meaningful than it would be had it followed grammar rules. Readers are immediately taken back to similar experiences and feelings with their own teenage crushes, and now they have made a connection with Marissa.
In another scene of the same story, the authors follow the grammatical conventions associated with punctuations when the irregular “…” may have been stronger to get a better picture of the scene. The authors write, “’Look, I guess we were jealous that Dexter spent all of prom night with you, but I guess you are both happy together.’ says Jack. ‘Let’s just leave.’” (dann59. et al, Storium.com) The way the thought was written, there are two sentences, separated by a period, that do not seem so tough for Jack to say to Marissa and Dexter as it flows out like a smooth sentence. However, this scene, and this sentence in particular, could have been a place for the authors to exemplify the kind of person Jack is with the use of “…”. He is a jock, who has become accustomed to having girls falling for him left and right, so it is very difficult for Jack to come to terms with the fact that his “nerd” brother, Dexter, got the girl he has been aiming for. With periods integrated in the sentence, the audience would be able to sense Jack’s character development more vividly as he would be portrayed as barely being able to get out his words. Breaking the conventions would be more effective because the readers would experience a smoother, slower, and more natural transition from complete jock who could not see passed a girl’s appearance to maturing man who puts others’ feelings above his ego.
Authors have the literary freedom to write in any way they feel best connects to their audience. Although grammar is important in the English language, teenage audiences may better relate to writing that dismisses some grammar rules. The usage of punctuation can be adjusted to change the meaning and feeling of a scene. Simply a different usage of periods can inspire emotions and create suspense that correct English may not have sparked in a scene.
Dann59, FinesseGod3416, I_AM_ME, TheArtist14. “Unexpected Love”. Storium. Scene 2. https://storium.com/game/group-3–2/act-1/scene-2.
Dann59, FinesseGod3416, I_AM_ME, TheArtist14. “Unexpected Love”. Storium. Scene 2. https://storium.com/game/group-3–2/act-1/scene-3.