Grammar is one of those funny things that everyone needs to know but that not everyone agrees on.
There are some things that most people can come to a consensus on, like the fact that sentences usually end with a period.
Some things are just confusing, like when to use a semicolon, or when to use “who” or “whom”.
And then there are things that are inconsistent within the English language, such as whether punctuation goes inside or outside quotation marks. Sometimes it depends on whether you are an American English speaker or a British English speaker.
Can Grammar Change?
But as frustrating as grammar sometimes can get, it's still an important element in the writing process. Using proper grammar and structure can mean the difference between comprehension and complete confusion in a sentence.
However, elements of grammatical structure are always evolving. Certain grammatical structures and word usage that are in place today were considered incorrect fifty years ago or more. Words like “literally” are now okay to use in other contexts to mean figuratively.
In the constantly evolving world of English grammar that exists today, I'm curious to see what grammar means to writers today.
Do you believe it's still a set of rules to follow? Or is it now a fluid construct that is malleable depending on the writer's whims? Is it more helpful to think of grammar as a writer's Bible, or do the rules of grammar exist to be broken?
Please let me know what you think in the comments section.
Liz Bureman has a more-than-healthy interest in proper grammatical structure, accurate spelling, and the underappreciated semicolon. When she's not diagramming sentences and reading blogs about how terribly written the Twilight series is, she edits for the Write Practice, causes trouble in Denver, and plays guitar very slowly and poorly. You can follow her on Twitter (@epbure), where she tweets more about music of the mid-90s than writing.