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Home » Archives » April 2007 » The Wavy Green Line
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04/23/2007: The Wavy Green Line

Ever notice how often, when speaking, you leave off the pronoun subject of the sentence? Happens all the time. I do it without even noticing it. Do it totally automatically.

You probably do this already when you're writing dialog, but sometimes the grammar check may intimidate you into correcting it. Don't correct it!

Gonna go check the doors. Wouldn't want any uninvited guests.

The missing "I'm" and "We" in this line wouldn't do anyone any good. (Of course, if you want to give a character a voice that suggests they're very correct, very precise, then always including the pronouns might be a good start.)

In general, you should ignore the grammar check when you're dealing with dialog, and often even when you're writing straight prose. I remember once being told that a grammar/style check reacted to the sentence "The boy was naked," with the suggestion that the sentence would be better not in the passive voice. It suggested replacing it with "Someone naked the boy."

I use the grammar check to help me find those sentences from which I've unconsciously omitted words -- it can be helpful for that -- but beyond that, beware.

Lunch: edamame from the Universal cafeteria. Made less appetizing by being labeled "green beans".


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