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We don't want no grammar!

by: Marilyn Owen (4 December 2013)

How many of us speak using the correct grammatical rules? The fact is that colloquial English is natural and unstilted no one would say, for example, "To whom did you give the book?" (Well, perhaps an elderly schoolteacher might do so!) No, you would say, ungrammatically, "Who did you give the book to?"

The grammatical forms used in everyday speech, especially in non-standard English, are quite different from those used in written English. One example is the incorrect "they was" which sounds so wrong but to someone with an East London dialect it can often be quite normal and natural to say this. Another example of Cockney or London speech is the use of adjectives rather than adverbs for example, "she was walking very slow" or "Go careful". Inwardly, I shudder and cry, "No! 'She was walking very slowly' and, no, it is not 'Go careful', it is 'Go carefully' "!

However, it really doesn't matter in everyday spoken language about using correct Standard English grammar. People speak in the way that is most natural to them to communicate with their network of family and friends.

It is a different matter though when writers and business people write for the web, and incorrectly written articles and blogs go viral, as grammatical errors spreading fast across the internet can cause much embarrassment to the writer.

Avoid unfortunate grammatical errors in your articles and blogs; for perfect grammar, spelling and punctuation send your articles to WriteItClearly.com and we will do the rest.

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Comments...

Ref: 35 That's interesting about Midlanders too - I have to say I've never heard "They am!" It may be a good idea to become acquainted with different dialects if you're writing about characters from another part of the UK!
Marilyn - 10:15 05-12-2013
Ref: 29 Not just Londoners, Midlanders have the habit of saying "You was...I were...they am!"
Romany - 14:15 04-12-2013
Ref: 27 I agree, Garry - in a novel it is the characters who are talking so they will use natural speech, not grammar rules!
Marilyn - 13:56 04-12-2013
Ref: 26 It's probably all right to break grammar rules like this when writing spoken words in a novel!
Garry - 13:46 04-12-2013

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