An Article of Interest

The following is a blog-article of relevancy for English 1301: Composition I students.

While there have always been explicit rules of grammar, punctuation, and other elements of writing, the general guidelines for compelling fiction are much more subjective, intuitive, and, well, squishy. Even some of the more traditional, hard fast principles of effective storytelling are becoming less rigid. Novelists and short story writers have to rely more on what feels right rather than what is right.


  1. Agreed. The rules of grammar are sometimes explicit and, on other occasion, no more than thumb guides. And - “never start a sentence with and” - where they do admit of deviation, rely more on aesthetic sensibility than any underlining “empirical” discipline. “Don't split infinitives” is the reactionary hogwash promoted by the blinkered devotees of a dead language (Latin) - it has no demonstrable justification that does not pirouette on the point of misguided elitism. Obviously context and purpose will frame the question of flexibility and rigidity. “Rules” are defined by practice and precedence, as well as experiment. I say: let your ears be the guide. Language is very much like music; there is a logic and rhythm that can only be grasped in the round; not just by breaking it into solitary semantic units.

  2. Spotted three errors in my previous comment. Just goes to show that proof reading, as well as the comprehensive grasp of grammar, are critical to credibility. I plead for lenience, your honour.

  3. Natetin: Yes, and most poetry for that matter will frequently break the guidelines. Fragmented sentences and strategic run-ons are essential at times to preserve the musical intentions of verse.


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