Grammar? We Don’t Need No Stinking Grammar

In case you were wondering:

  1. Yes, I do know the rules of proper English composition
  2. No, I do not always follow them on this blog.

I’ve labored through my share of book reports and research papers in high school and college. I got A’s on most of them, thankyouverymuch. That wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t meticulously adhered to every nit-picking little dictate of English spelling, grammar and punctuation.

So why would an erudite scholar like myself scorn the wisdom of the ages and run roughshod over time-honored practices that have served the likes of Milton, Shakespeare, Longfellow and Poe for centuries?

Well … because this is my blog.

Not theirs.

This is my playground. It’s recess, not English Comp class. I don’t come here to impress academic elitists with my pedantic perfectionism. I may use a preposition to end a sentence with. I might try to occasionally sneak in a split infinitive. Even write a sentence fragment. Or begin a sentence with a conjunction. If I’m really feeling frisky, I might attempt a couple of comma splices and a cliche all in one sentence, don’t worry though, it’s all good.

But it isn’t anarchy. I don’t put words just anywhere. I don’t just throw a bunch of punctuation marks up in the air and let them land on the page willy-nilly. I don’t just use the word “just” just because I just don’t know better. There is a method to this. I do have some conventions. But unlike the rules of English composition, it won’t take a text book the thickness of a brick to explain them to you. In fact, here they are:

  1. As much as possible, try to mimic the natural cadence and rhythms of speech.
  2. Season with humor, altering the punctuation as needed to create comic timing.
  3. If a grammar rule gets in the way, break it. Just have a good reason for it.

Those are the Ken’s Back Home Basic Blogging Rules. In other words …

My rules.

After all, just because some needle-nosed nit-pickers got together centuries ago in some ivy-encrusted tower and concocted something called grammar so they could terrorize their hapless students with it, what is that to me? Writing is art, not academics. Art comes from inspiration, not education. And inspiration breaks the rules instead of making them. You don’t teach art. You give it freedom, inspire it, then get out of the way.

Just ask Milton, Shakespeare, Longfellow and Poe.

So put down your rulers and your red markers, all you needle-nosed nit-picking educators. I did it your way for almost twenty years. You owe me this chance to spread my wings and try something different. From now on, I’m going to:

  1. Listen to and follow the rhythm and cadence of my inner voice.
  2. Season each moment with laughter, and not take everything so seriously.
  3. Take a teensy-weensy step over that line every once in a while.

Those are my rules.

For my blog.

For my life.

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3 responses to “Grammar? We Don’t Need No Stinking Grammar

  1. Great post Ken! I really enjoyed this; probably because I am constantly breaking grammar rules all the time. 🙂 I too, think writing is truly an art that we choose to practice, and often we are so overly concern that our point is being made or that our voices are being carried through the writing; that we forget to consider the grammar authorities that are out there critiquing with their red, yellow, or green highlighters. Much like you though, I do not write to be correct. I write because its a joy to do and it brings me joy to be able to do it the way that I want to do it. Although your post might have been meant to be humorous(and it was, indeed), this post has a lot of truth in it. And I appreciate you for sharing it. Well done mate… Well done. 🙂

    • Thanks Deeone. The only purpose of words is that they communicate, not only ideas and information but also feelings and emotion. Honestly, I think strict rules of grammar get in the way of that sometimes. It’s the same with life. Living it strictly by the rules can get in the way of communicating our true selves to others. That’s because rules are meant to conform us to a system, not help us express our individuality.

      (P.S. Congrats on your new improved blog. It looks great.)

  2. Pingback: A Note to Teacher | Ken's Back Home blog

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