Anyone who has ever used Microsoft Word knows that blue line under a “grammatical error,” yes? Not only are some of their corrections actually wrong, but trying to type up a creative piece? Oh good luck, all ye weary authors. Grammar rules leave no room for accents in voice, style changes to show dialogue compared to a written word, or even just the personality behind the narration. I should probably turn off the grammar and spell check, but I’m dyslexic, so that really wouldn’t help me at all.
Curzan’s piece of grammar said a few things that struck me. First she said that proper, Standard English is on a pedestal of no challenges that it has no right to be on. What does make people think that Standard English is the right way at all? Discoveries and progress are only made when people experiment and challenge previously accepted ideas.
Secondly she said that even with a standard set of rules, different teachers enforce different rules. Pretty sure every student has had at least one English teacher contradict the writing rules of another, so we all know this is true. But how is this possible with a claimed “Standard English” that is supposed to be the written rule?
Third she mentioned this idea that teachers have that if students are allowed to challenge the rules of English grammar, we won’t bother learning the rules at all. I don’t know about you, but most of the time I learn a rule so as not to break it. However, when it comes to my stylistic choices of my creative writing, I tend to look at the rules, and go, “Oh, okay that’s the rule, yeah, no I’m good with breaking it.” Granted, I don’t do this for every rule, but if I followed proper “Standard English” in the book I’m writing the way I do in academic papers, all my characters would sound like badly programmed droids. They’re people, I’m going to let them talk the way actual people talk.