Thursday, August 1, 2013

Finally, some grammar rules you can ignore.

I know some of you just spilled your beverages on your keyboard while reading the heading of this blog, but there are actually some grammar rules that can be ignored in fiction writing, and even in technical writing unless it’s for very pedantic publishers.

“Between” must be used only when there are two items. If there are more than two items, use “among”.
The ‘tween” in between means the number two.
Among is clearly better when there are a large number, or an unknown number of items.
The robber band divided the gold among themselves.
But if there are only three for example, most people wouldn’t care whether you wrote,
The three robbers divided the gold among themselves.
The three robbers divided the gold between themselves.

Don’t use “since” when you mean “because”.
“Since” is obviously correct in a phrase like: “Since time immemorial…”
But these days it’s okay to say either, “Since he hates cricket, he’s watching the football.”
Or “Because he hates cricket, he’s watching the football.”

Unquote versus endquote
It used to be that one said, “quote” before beginning a quotation, and “endquote” at the conclusion. For obvious reasons, because the quote had ended. Now it’s quite acceptable to say “quote…unquote”. However if you say “begin quote”, you should then say “endquote” for consistency.

As always, however, when in doubt, follow the rules. The person reading what you wrote might think you are a fraction old-fashioned, but that’s better than having them think you are ill-educated.

Helen Woodall

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.


Shane Saukazi said...

I really enjoy reading and also appreciate your work.Grammarly reviews

Helen Woodall: Freelance Editing said...

Thank you Shane.