Thursday, February 18, 2010

This post is not for everyone...

... because many do not find rules of the written English language as stimulating as I do. It certainly is not a topic I'd bring up on a first date (or fifty-first date for that matter), and I know I may be labeled a total dork for this, but who else thinks punctuation rules and sentence structures are not only fun but also interesting? (I'm guessing Rick J won't leave me hanging.) Discussing such a topic as this is almost as exciting as finding that perfect pair of shoes. (Not that you would really understand that emotion, Rick. hee hee)

All young writers that I've taught over the last nine years want to start sentences with "and" or "but", but I do not allow mine to do so. Below is part of an email I sent to one of my parents regarding some questions she had about such rules. I had the best time communicating back and forth with her about it. My brain feels stimulated and ready to solve the problem of world peace.

It is my understanding that starting a sentence with "and" and "but" is becoming more commonly accepted as it was in the 18th century (and the Bible is full of them). Yes, authors and writers do begin sentences with "and" and "but", but it is "excused" as they are published and can "do what they want". In the meantime, the rest of us unpublished folks are expected to refrain from such no-no's as such practices are still considered informal writing - especially if a comma is not used to separate the dependant and in dependant clauses they create in complex sentences. Texas students are taught how to correctly begin a sentence with sub. conjunctions like "and", "but" when they are in the fifth/sixth grades. Until then, I prefer my students to not begin sentences with sub. conjunctions so they won't get itno an early practice of misusing them. In the future, it is highly expected that commas (and therefore starting a sentence with "and" or "but") will be perfectly acceptable for all of us (published or not) as the trend seems to show us reverting back to the more lenient ways of the writers of the 1700's. A big reason for this is the use of new technologies. People do not want to take the time to add in correct punctuation in emails and when texting. Since those technologies were not available to you and me when we were in school, no one considered not not using them.

As an added bonus for sticking with this post that most probably had noooooooooo interest in, I am excited to announce that Kerry got me a camera for Valentine's Day, and I'll soon be posting pictures and videos again. Wooooo-hoooooo. I took a really cute video of Rhett eating chocolate pudding today. He was actually moaning with delight while eating it. He gets that from me. Chocolate is my best friend.

post signature


Kory Kilgore said...

Haha! My students' writing would drive you insane Amanda.

Rick J said...

Ooooo... a post on grammar and punctuation. Is "amen" appropriate here? My pulse quickened as my eyes drifted longingly over each and every point. :-)

Jordan said...

I remember that very point being drilled into my head all through my school years. I also know that I frequently start sentences with "and" in my own blog. Here's my own reasoning behind it (because I do have a reason): my blog is a journal of sorts for myself and my writing. Sometimes one MUST start a thought with "and". I had to come up with a valid excuse to break these common English rules. I feel the need to point out to you (a reader of my blog and grammer teacher all at the same time) that I know the "rule" and that I intentionally break them to make a literary point. When I do use "and" to start a sentence, it's because it will make an impact that otherwise wouldn't be made.

Do you forgive me?!

Also, the fabric I ordered shipped today so keep an eye out for it! :)