In an effort to improve my grammar and writing skills, I’ve enrolled on an online (British) English language and literature course. A pass on this course will result in a lovely new diploma for my wall, but more significantly, a better knowledge of the different styles of writing that I encounter on a daily basis. I figured that the time has come for me to acknowledge pronoun types, to learn what prepositions are telling me and what an adverb is. Aside from this, I’ll spend time learning about the works of Shakespeare who, lets face it, was one pretty cool guy.
So far so good, the course is going well and I’ll admit to enjoying it far more than I’d originally anticipated. Mind you, Bessie and Co. are determined to do their utmost to distract me by woofing at every single thing they see and hear. I’ve informed them that their tactics won’t work and asked them in the nicest possible way if they’d mind limiting their woofs to 10 an hour and within an agreed time frame; naturally they’re hearing none of it. Here’s a free tip for you: if you live in a built up area or find barking dogs a real distraction, then don’t get a Bulgarian shepherd dog. Or a Greek shepherd dog for that matter. I have one of each, which must make me either a glutton for punishment or warped in the head: I suspect it’s both.
Due to my complete immersion in learning, Tuesday was the first time I’d looked at my blog in well over a month. Almost immediately my attention was drawn to the many errors which lay within each posting. Just to set the scene, this was the point in the evening where I got the boxing gloves out of the cupboard and beat myself around the head a few times. I didn’t realise, for example, that the only word in the title which should start with a capital letter is the first word. Naturally names will stay capitalised, but I was going all out and capitalising every word. I continued to read my posts and concluded the following:
- I get a kick out of using the word ‘that’ whenever I blooming well like
- my use of verb tenses is atrocious; they’re all over the place
- for some unfathomable reason, I seem to always favour ‘it’s’ over ‘its’
- I appear to dislike using certain contractions
- I write how I speak
Rightly or wrongly, the ‘write how I speak’ point will always sneak into my work, and I know for a fact that I’ll never get the verb usage completely right, especially as I’ve struggled with it all my life. As well as the grammar issues, I noticed a difficulty with expression, often I don’t write what I mean to say. The course is really adept at addressing how you should prepare your work, how by answering a few short questions you can have a outline of what you intend to write before you start. Common sense stuff I know, but for the likes of people like me, who spend too long faffing about with inconsequential nonsense, it’s important to have it reiterated. My faffing time really does limit my creative flow.
On the whole, I’m finding the course to be of terrific benefit to me. Now all I need to do is put my new found knowledge to good use, by writing. And writing, and writing. After all, they say practice makes perfect.