January Girl (zephrin) wrote in promptomatic,
January Girl
zephrin
promptomatic

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Stop! Grammar Time! *do do do doot, do doot, do doot*

MC Grammar here with a quick opinion poll...

Should you observe the rules of proper grammar in diaogue? I mean, I was always told that you should, but then you end up with all your characters talking like something out of Masterpiece Theater. Sometimes people speak in fragments, but I'm not sure if I should write as the character speaks or trying to clean up the grammar.

Any thoughts?
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  • 7 comments
nooooooooooooo proper grammar!

i loathe grammar in dialogue. as long as the narrative shows that you know how to use proper english, no one will think you're an idiot because your characters talk colloquially.
I've had to turn off the Microsoft 'auto-grammar' because it's too distracting, pointing out fragments in my dialogue.
if your character has a distinct, clear, yet ungrammatical voice, that's perfectly fine. i don't think that dialogue should be an excuse to trash grammar rules, though. unless it's integral to your character's personality that he or she says "like" every third word, for example, i'd omit such a thing from your dialogue, even though that's the way most people talk. basically i think that dialect is useful, but only when it's used knowledgeably.
Yeah, sometimes it can be taken too far. Here I'm thinking of the end of Mark Twain's 'Huck Finn' where I really had no idea what the former slave was talking about because Twain wrote for the heavy southern accent.

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Yeah...when your story takes place on the rough streets of some future-punk world, then everyone isn't using contractions...well, that can really break the atmosphere.
Fuck no.

The only dialogue test should be reading it aloud. If it sounds right--sounds, not reads, this is important--then it's good dialogue, grammar be damned.
Let's have a grammar revolution. Viva la fragment!