Grammar

by Marissa
(Ohio)

Question: I'm not that great in grammar like I never know when to put a comma and I know that is a problem if I want to be a writer and I've looked up when I'm supposed to put a comma but that still doesn't seem to help so what should I do because that is my biggest problem in writing. Also I can picture things in my head like the way a building looks or a character looks but I can't find the right words to describe them is there any way to help with that?


Answer: Grammar has to be learned, absorbed, and practised. Reading a lot helps, especially if you slow down sometimes and pay attention to how the language is put together.

For instance, try reading part of a novel out loud. You'll find that you need the commas in the right places so you have a chance to breathe. They also need to be in the right places to make sense of the language.

Perhaps you've heard the joke about the difference between, "Let's eat, Grandma!" and "Let's eat Grandma!"?

A similar joke, that is also the title of a punctuation book, is about two panda bears. The first panda "eats shoots and leaves" as part of its diet. The second panda "eats, shoots, and leaves," meaning he fires a gun after dinner and then exits.

When you can look at a story and understand why the commas are in the places they are, you'll know how to use them in your own work.

As for description, it too takes practice. The more you practice describing people, places, or things, the better you'll become. Again, reading helps. Pay attention to how other writers describe things and how their words create pictures in your mind.

There's no magic formula, unfortunately, except that you get better the more you write.

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