Welcome back to another blog hop, with #OpenBook. Here’s this week’s prompt.
Do you use said or asked after a ? or tag your interruptions? Any punctuation that bugs you? What’s the hardest for you to get right?
I have to be honest here, written English is a total mystery to me, I’ve learned to spell and punctuate as I’ve gone along. I failed English at school (twice) and there’s a very simple reason, apart from the fact that I couldn’t be bothered (that’s another story, the result of what happened first).
So before I get to this weeks prompt, here’s a bit of background. It also explains why nobody is more surprised than me that I can produce novel-length fiction that people seem to enjoy.
Between the ages of 11 and 13, I moved school three times. Due to the vagaries of the education system in England back in the 1960s and early 1970s, each school that I went to had a different local authority and their own, unique, curriculum.
Because of that, I sampled three different systems in quick succession. The result was that I missed out on a lot of subjects as I moved from school to school. Either I never got to learn them before I left, or they had already been covered when I arrived.
English grammar was one such casualty of my wanderings. I picked up a few of the basics but the bulk of it was never formally taught. When I said that I didn’t know something, my attempts to explain WHY I didn’t know were met with disbelief from the teachers. I just got told that I was stupid, lazy and useless. Everyone else in the class laughed.
Which was where the apathy came in. And the failed exams.
I actually wrote a short story about my school experiences, called (unsurprisingly) School, so in the end, I guess the experience was useful for something.
The teacher’s attitude to my missing knowledge, on the other hand, still causes me issues to this day.
Anyhow, dragging the subject back, Punctuation. This could easily be replaced by the phrase, why I employ an editor.
Seriously, the first manuscript I sent her came back with 5,000 corrections to the basics, full stop, commas – the dreaded semi-colon (shouldn’t that be a medical term?).
And that was before we got to the spellings and the rest.
I’m getting better now, thanks to seeing how she has corrected my work over the years and copying her suggestions as well as I could. But I still don’t know the rules. They seem confusing and arbitrary, with so many exceptions.
The good thing is that the voices in my head have sharpened their act up and now dictate a much cleaner version of the story to me. You can tell the difference between their work and mine, this blog post has taken me twice as long to write as a chapter of a novel and is made readable mainly by the power of Grammarly.
Oh yes, the question that started this post. I have spent a while looking back at various samples of my corrected work and I see that I tend to insert the ? and leave it at that, no tags and no capital letter on the next word if it’s in the middle of a longer passage of speech.
I assume that’s right, it’s certainly so according to the expert I have come to rely on.
Let me know what you think about this week’s subject.
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