Masochistic Grammar

One of the things that really What really drives me crazy is Grrr-ammar! For anyone passionate about the written word Writing can be a masochistic enterprise, especially if you suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, like I do. Every sentence you read on my blog has been read over dozens of times is carefully has to be meticulously edited before being posted I post it. Every word I am not 100% certain about, I have to look up in an online dictionary Wikipedia. But it’s not just a matter of correct vs. incorrect grammar, spelling, typos and or punctuation. There are literally an infinite number of ways to write any one a sentence. While it a sentence may be technically correct grammatically, the sentence may be confusing, misleading convoluted, redundant, or may just lack the emotional impact punch to make it work the way you want it to. Readers who don’t write are often oblivious to the subtle power of a good sentence. Often, the Great writers walk a fine line between convention and breaking every rule in the Little Brown Handbook. I am constantly screaming at my Microsoft Word program because it either doesn’t know proper grammar or it doesn’t know when I am taking poetic liberties (hate those squiggly lines!). Writing is sometimes art, sometimes a strict set of guidelines. You want to convey meaning an idea as clearly and concisely as possible, but you also want to do it in a way that moves the reader emotionally. A good sentence can give you goosebumps, make you cry, or (insert third thing here). Sometimes, in the heat of editing, I feel like an impressionist painter throwing words on the canvas screen. Other times, the keyboard is like my piano. But mostly, writing well is a whole lot of frustration tug-of-war between clarity and poetry. Looking at every conceivable way to convey an idea write one sentence and picking the best iteration can take forever, which is maybe why I spent twelve hours editing my last chapter. Mind you, I spent thirteen hours on the first draft, so that which amounts to twenty-five hours of work for one stinking chapter! Just to make you people happy! If that’s not masochism, what is?

Actually, what is masochism?

mas·och·ism noun \ˈma-sə-ˌki-zəm, ˈma-zə-also ˈmā-\

Definition of MASOCHISM
1: a sexual perversion characterized by pleasure in being subjected to pain or humiliation especially by a love object — compare sadism
2: pleasure in being abused or dominated : a taste for suffering
— mas·och·ist noun
— mas·och·is·tic adjective
— mas·och·is·ti·cal·ly adverb

To illustrate my point, here’s just a sample of here are just a few ways to convey one simple idea:
How many ways are there to convey one simple idea? Here’s just a sample:

– Dick went to the store to buy milk.
– Dick picked up some milk at the store.
– Dick bought milk at a nearby store.
– Dick got milk from a local grocer.
– Dick was at the store for the purposes of buying milk.
– The milk Dick got was from a local grocery store.
– They needed milk. Dick went and got it from the store.
– They needed milk, so Dick went to the store.
– Dick went to Publix for milk.
– Dick visited Publix and, while there, purchased some milk.
– Since Dick was at the store, he decided to pick up some milk.
– When Dick went to the store, he bought milk. (passive voice)
– Dick went to the store; he bought milk.
– Dick was thirsty for milk, so he went to the store to buy it. (admittedly awful)
– Dick was all out of milk at home, so he went to Publix.
– At the store, Dick found the milk he was looking for.
– Dick wanted milk. Then he remembered the two for one deal at Walmart.
– After eating nine chocolate chip cookies, Dick realized he was out of milk. But the store was just around the corner.
– Dick, too lazy to get off his lazy bum, stayed home to play Mass Effect 3, while his sister Jane went out for milk.
– It was raining when Dick went out for milk, so he had to take his umbrella.
– Dick was trying to lose weight, so he opted for the 1% milk.
– Dick, being a Vegan, bought soy milk.
– Dick got milk.
– Got milk? Dick sure does!
– Dick went to the store to buy milk, but when he got there, he realized he forgot his wallet and so returned home with nothing.
– The baby was crying! Dick had to run to the store for milk!
– Dick didn’t buy any milk. He hates milk.
– Being lactose intolerant, Dick didn’t buy any milk at the store.
– “Where did Dick go?” Bob asked. “Oh, he went out for milk,” Jane replied.
– When Dick never came back from the store, Bob went to buy the milk instead.

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