Grammar and the Greats #blog


Grammar does not come easily to us all. I just want to write, get the story out of head and onto the page. Then the grammar police slash, dash, and crash my party. It has been too many years since I left grade school behind and sadly I did not practice writing. I have forgotten too many rules.

So, I’ve come up with this blog idea today just to let any other grammarphobes out there know not to give up. Keep plugging away, and you just might be famous one day. Here are a few famous people who wrote as they pleased and tossed grammar to the wind.

Mind you, you’d have to be a damn amazing writer to pull these off.

Samuel Beckett  – no punctuation. Murphy (1938) Molloy (1951) Malone Dies (1951) The Unnamable (1953) Waiting for Godot (1953) Watt (1953) Endgame (1957) Krapp’s Last Tape (1958)

Marcel Proust  – run on sentences – one of which was apparently 601 words long. Best known for his 3000 page masterpiece: Remembrance of Things Past or In Search of Lost Time

William Faulkner – lack of punctuation The Sound and the Fury (1929), As I Lay Dying (1930), Light In August (1932), The Unvanquished (1938), and Absalom, Absalom! (1936)

Cormac McCarthy – who only believes in periods, capitals and the occasional comma. The Road. Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West. All the Pretty Horses (The Border Trilogy, Book 1) No Country for Old Men (Vintage International) Cities of the Plain (Everyman’s Library) The Crossing (The Border Trilogy, Book 2) Child of God.

James Joyce –  stream of consciousness writing Ulysses (1922), A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Finnegans Wake (1939). Dubliners: An Illustrated Edition With Annotations.

E.E. Cummingsabandoned conventional syntax American poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright. He wrote approximately 2,900 poems; two autobiographical novels; four plays and several essays.

Jane Austen – Double negatives Sense and Sensibility (1811) Pride and Prejudice (1813) Mansfield Park (1814) Emma (1815) Northanger Abbey (1818, posthumous) Persuasion (1818, posthumous) Lady Susan

Charles Dickens – Run-on sentences The Pickwick Papers. Oliver Twist. Nicholas Nickleby. A Christmas Carol. David Copperfield. Bleak House. Little Dorrit. A Tale of Two Cities.

L. MenckenIncomplete sentences George Bernard Shaw: His Plays (1905) The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche (1907)The Gist of Nietzsche (1910) What You Ought to Know about your Baby (Ghostwriter for Leonard K. Hirshberg) (1910) Men versus the Man:

William Shakespeare –  Ending a sentence (or independent clause) with a preposition Macbeth Hamlet. Romeo and Juliet. Othello. The Tempest The Merchant of Venice Much Ado About Nothing King Lear

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – The subjunctive/passive voice Sherlock Holmes Novels and more

Of course, I’m not saying be haphazard and slapdash yourself into obscurity. Perhaps write to your heart’s content and get a fabulous editor that won’t hate you. Learn, practice, grow and be happy writing.

Theresa Jacobs. 


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