Writing Well As a Barrier to Creativity 8 maja, 2011

She recounted how she was discouraged from sending a letter to Mad Magazine because her English teacher critiqued it too harshly.

I feel sorry for her that she let one person comments keep her from doing something that to this day she regrets. How much do we read and hear that if we really passionate about something we should go ahead and do it anyway? How passionate are you about something if one person can stop you cold? In the words of Scott the Nametag Guy: stand up, speak up, or get shut down. In it, King describes a childhood experience in which he wrote a grisly story that horrified his teacher. Now, the teacher was horrified by the gory stuff that was in the story he wrote, not so much by the bad spelling. What she commented on was the gory details.

That wasn King point. His teacher wanted to know why he was wasting his talents writing like this. Her words (quoted by King): I don understand, Stevie, is why you write junk like this in the first place. You talented. Why do you want to waste your abilities? Not a thing in there about how he shouldn even attempt writing since he couldn spell. The teacher admitted that he had an incredible talent.

King goes on to say that he was ashamed of what he had written. Again, not by the bad spelling and grammar,bestbuy001
but by the content. He says he spent the next forty years feeling ashamed about what he wrote.

Now that a great example of how we should just keep on and do what we meant to do despite what the naysayers say. However, this isn a good example of how the Gestapo should just leave us be. If I tell you that at my last family reunion we ran woefully short of poultry due to an equipment malfunction, you don’t understand the situation as well as if I write, „my second cousin told everybody ‚We don’t got no fried chicken ‚cuz daddy done broke mamma’s deep fry tryin’ to boil the tar off his lug nuts. sorry; correct English doesn mean stilted, stuffy, and inflated English. Correct English means using words correctly. Would anyone (even I) actually say, ran woefully short of poultry due to an equipment malfunction I don think so.

Okay, so let me get this straight. If enough of us say something incorrectly, then the incorrect version becomes correct? Is it just easier to do it incorrectly than to make an effort to do it right? I can think of several ways to avoid the awkwardness of assigning a gender. If you trying to describe the person with a smile, then I betting you know the gender and can just say person with a smile on his face. If you talking in general about a smiling person, then you don need to point out a specific person; you could say something like with smiles on their faces. Or just take the plunge and assign a gender: person with a smile on her face. Gasp!!! Can we really do that?

We don have to be stuck with bad grammar and incorrect pronoun agreement. If you know the correct way to do it, and you do it incorrectly, I think it makes you look lazy. (Now, I say right here and now that one can deviate from grammar and usage for stylistic reasons. Heck, I do it all the time. However, there are some things that just aren right any way you cut it.)

Epilogue to this story: I ranted about this for several days, and my family absolutely agreed with me about the pronoun agreement. (Smart family.) To explain to my seven year old, I used this example: like saying that if enough people declare that 2 + 2 = 5, then 5 becomes an accepted answer. You might think that it going overboard, but I don think so. If you have a singular thing, you need a singular pronoun. If you have a plural thing, you need a plural pronoun. How is that different from basic math facts?

My husband favorite metaphor was this: enough people start robbing convenience stores, then 7 Eleven will start giving Slurpees away for free. count on 7 Eleven giving away Slurpees for free any time soon.

Final Note: This article was written using about 90% correct grammar and usage. I gave myself 10% leeway for the informal and conversational tone of the article. Read our full Terms of Service.

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