Manuscripts Burn


"Manuscripts don't burn"
- Mikhail Bulgakov

Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."

Monday, May 21, 2012

YOU DECIDE!!!!™ (Prologue)

First, let me preface this post by saying I hate writing posts about grammar.  I'm the anxious sort and a bit of a perfectionist (also a narcissist and a bit of a drunk, but those are less pertinent personality traits.)  Whenever I write a grammar post I sit there and diagram every sentence in it because I don't want to be an ass like this guy.  Or this guy.  Or this guy.  Or, I guess, any Tea Party guy.  That being said, I'll try not to overthink it for the next three posts.  Allons-y.

I generally like to think of my knowledge of grammar as a little above average.  I don't think that's a major boast.  I don't descend into lolspeak when texting or l33t on the interwebs (for the most part.)  I never really cared for or understood most of that, except for emoticons, which are now sadly kind of extinct.

But when it comes to the Queene's Englishe, I know my way around a participial phrase, if you know what I mean.  Still, though, I start sentences with "but" sometimes, and it's often been pointed out by certain wags around this very blog that I may not always necessarily differentiate between the uses of "it's" and "its" properly. 

Which is all to say that as a general rule, I at least usually KNOW when I'm doing something wrong, like capitalizing a word for emphasis instead of making better word choices.  Part of developing your tone as a writer is making choices, like switching into the second person in place of the rigid (but considered "proper") use of "one." 

I also prefer to believe that I'm not an asshole about grammar choices, too, unlike certain wags who hang about this very blog, pointing out proper and improper uses of "it's."  Because I don't much care for grammar assholes. 

(It's fucking pronounced "sherbert," not "cherbey."  "Irregardless" is most definitely in the dictionary, and even if it weren't, organic evolution of language, etc., etc.) 

I've never much cared for grammar rules of the so-obscure-that-you-act-like-everybody-else-is-doing-it-wrong-except-for-you variety.  But there are people who consider themselves clever for doing so, and after they're done clapping like seals and braying like jackasses, they go back to their sad and lonely lives of poring over Strunk and White's all night by a single candle, searching for, I assume, more things to point out wrong in the writing of others.
How did I get this far without even addressing the topic of this blog?

Ah, well.  Lo que es pasado es prologo, as the immortal Bard would have said if he had been Spanish.  In any case, the point of all this nattering and mostly finding sidebars to complain about those fucking grammar assholes that I hate so much, especially the ones that hang around this very blog pointing out every instance of misused "it's" is that I recently stumbled upon two grammar rules of which I genuinely was not aware.

And this is because they had changed.  (Sentence fragment.)

Or, in any case, conventional wisdom had changed.  I learned a rule, probably in elementary school, and in the twenty-odd years since learning it, and following it slavishly, some asshole, probably after pointing out an improper use of the word "it's" had decided that rule was no longer valid.  I wouldn't say these are grammar rules that I love like members of my own family, but they are grammar rules that are so deeply ingrained in my psyche that I can't just stop doing them, even though I've heard talk that they are wrong.

So in both of these cases I thought it would be best to pose the question to you, my imaginary readers, of whether these rules are correct, incorrect, convenient, incovenient, mutable, immutable, or whether I'm making a mountain out of a molehill.  I have decided therefore to plan a two-part (three-part, now that this prologue has rated its own blogpost) where you decide what's best, called YOU DECIDE!!!

We will address one of these rules on Wednesday, and the other on Friday, in order to allow the no doubt rollicking conversation in the comments a chance to subside.  So, gird your loins, and prepare be the DECIDERS!


  1. Is ending a sentence with a preposition what you're referring to? Or is it the need to occasionally split an infinitive? Either way, it's sure that this post won't be worth the effort expended here by its author.

    1. Yes! That's exactly the kind of fiery input we're looking for! Make sure to save some of it for Wednesday and Friday!


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