Friends of mine are often surprised at how little I know about the mechanics of writing. It’s true, however. On the subject of grammar, I’m largely an ignoramus. Years ago, in school, it was one of the subjects I did worst in and I hated, hated, hated it.
I have a somewhat lengthy post on the sidelines, unpublished, that explains this to a degree. As I put it to a friend last night, in my mind it’s something like music. Some people can read and write music, some play by ear. Sheet music is all gibberish for the latter. I think I’m like those people when it comes to writing and grammar.
Whatever writing skills I have come from listening to how people talk and from reading a lot and from a broad spectrum. It is the result of imitation – mimicry, I suppose. From usage, I know what certain words mean in a kind of intuitive sense. I know how to structure a sentence and sometimes mix up the structure (or syntax) to achieve a certain effect or voice.
But I couldn’t tell you why they are correctly formatted or why they are incorrect when that is the case. I get headaches and depressed just thinking about it.
I like the idea of grammar. I’m just a bumbler when it comes to it.
My mother, were she still around to read this, would have her head bowed and be weeping in despair.