Be always for learning

I love starting my sentences with the word “and”. But there’s some grammar rule that goes like this: Thou shall not start your sentences with “and”. Oh, really?

So you can imagine my disbelief when I heard an English professor say, You can start a sentence with the word “and”.

Me: You can?! How did I not know this sooner? And from then on guess what?

I use any opportunity I can to start my sentences with and. There’s something rebellious about it.

I also learned that the grammar rules that we’re taught in school growing up were meant to help us sound formal. We weren’t taught how to write casual like how we speak in informal settings.

I recently read a Ghandi quote about learning and life on Pragati Chauhan’s blog Meldoy of Words that goes like this:

Live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever.

Mahatma gandhi

This quote speaks to me because I’ve been reading a book about grammar lately. Yes, I read grammar books for fun :). Not always though. I’ve been reading the grammar book because I’m always for learning how to improve my writing skills.

Did you know these things about writing and grammar?

Did you know that how and where you choose to add a comma, period, dash, or parenthesis in a sentence makes all of the difference on the effect your message has on your reader? One of my favorites is how commas create pauses, and when you remove the commas it makes the writing flow quicker.

For example, I could have added commas to the following sentence, but I chose not to.

And from then on guess what?

And, from then on, guess what?

It helped me get to my point quicker. (Or so I think. What do you think?)

Your choice on where you choose to punctuate can add emphasis, create a dramatic effect, or create contrast. It can make your message sound formal or casual. A tip on sounding casual is to use contractions such as we’re instead of we are.

The purpose of applying grammar rules is to make it easier on our readers to understand our message, says Joseph M. Williams the author of the book. He says that we can always revise a sentence if it’s not clear enough. 

This grammar lesson is so useful for our writing because it helps when you’re writing everything, from a birthday card to an email.

Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the book:

We can create different stylistic effects simply by the way we punctuate: punctuation is not governed by rules, but by choices. 

Joseph M. Williams from Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace

What fascinates me about all the ways in which we can use grammar rules in our messages is that we have so many options. You can choose how many dashes to use or not use them at all. You can choose to use a comma or a colon. It just all depends on the effect you want to create.

Why you should be always for learning

Going back to Ghandi’s quote about learning as if you were to live forever, you have the option of learning something completely new like a language or how to play an instrument. Or you can choose to keep learning about the things you’re passionate about.

The effects of learning or the wisdom gathered from learning change us. We can share wisdom with others or become better at using our talents such as someone who’s really good at baking and continues to improve through practice. If anything, learning allows you to grow, to question, and to innovate as you go.

Are you picky with punctuation and grammar rules? And what have you been learning lately?

Your amiga,

Andrea