David Beers

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On Grammar

I almost never started writing, all because of grammar. In fact, this post may stop people from reading me due to the ignorance I'm going to show.

I've always been much, much better at understanding math rules than grammar rules. I suppose it's because math rules are concrete, they exist in all times and in all places. Grammar has a fluidity to it which I didn't appreciate before and consequently, never learned in the sense that primary education says we should.

I've published four novels and short stories on top of short stories. I still don't know what a gerund is.  (I just looked it up, apparently it's when you add -ing to something.)

When I started writing, and began thinking about doing it professionally, that was a big question for me: Should I try to do this, when grammar to me is kind of a fog? I went ahead and started writing because...well, because sometimes you just have to do stupid things.

What I've come to understand in the near decade since I started writing is that you don't need to understand the definition of gerund to write. One picks up grammar through speech, through reading, and through writing--or one should, if one is semi-intelligent. Now, I don't want to sound like a complete idiot; I understand what a sentence fragment is, etc., but the really intricate levels of grammar? The British-English version of grammar? Not a clue, and I'm okay with that. 

I tell stories and I understand the very basics. That's good enough to get started. So I got started, and after eight years, I'm selling a good number of books. You may feel something major is holding you back, but it's not real. It doesn't exist.

I started writing because I had to, and eight years later, I finally know what a gerund is. That's progress, no?