To ?, or Not To ? That Is the ?

I’m paraphrasing Hamlet of course. Shakespeare in case no one reads his stories anymore. I was never much of a fan because he didn’t write about sports, but I digress. Before you move to the next website, this is not about Shakespeare. I will try not to bore thee with flowery prose like ‘A rose by any other name.’ Whatever! I mean go hang out in a convent, Shakespeare.

This is a short discourse about grammar. Not the actor, but… you know… commas and periods and exclamation points and those pesky little colons and semi-colons (which I rarely use because I don’t know the difference between the two:). Listen up! I’m not going to praise William Bullokar with platitudes, neither shall I bury him. For indeed grammar merely acquaints one’s soul with misery and madness. In this winter of our discontent with social distancing, I beg to remind you all that glitters is not gold. In other words, I admit my limited knowledge of the correct use of grammar has hampered my writing at times. The fault lies not within the stars, but in myself. Perhaps, I didn’t pay close enough attention in school, but, for my own part, grammar was Greek to me. (and I’m not talking about colons and semi-colons). There are so many rules and exceptions to the rules. More rules than there are things in heaven and earth in this infinite philosophy called English grammar. Thank you ever so much, William Bullokar.

I use my computer to write, and not having taken a typing class in fifty years (give or take – mostly give) I am not the best typist. When I get going, I speed along faster than a horse racing though its kingdom without a lot of thought to punctuation. I will often add a period to the end of a sentence simply to keep the momentum going. The course of correct grammar never did run smooth on my keyboard. This brings me to my point. I shall attempt to maintain brevity less I cause you to lose your wit. Though the better part of valor might be discretion, I must remain true to myself. Too often have I submitted a less-than-perfect manuscript to the valiant young lady who volunteered to read them. Liz Hubbell. Bless her heart for she is an angel and the epitome of patience. I am positive there were many times when she must have muttered ‘Off with his head! He keeps making the same mistakes over and over. His errors shall last for eternity.’ If I ever got one sentence correct, it would lie buried with the dust of my bones. Alas and alack, she did not cry havoc and let loose the dogs of grammar war. Instead she exercised patience until at last the wheel has come full circle and I am now here. Ah, sigh no more, readers, sigh no more. I have seen better days! (But I still don’t know the difference between… you know – :;).

For years I toiled miserably in the bottomless pit of the quagmire of grammar with no medicine but that of hope. However, action is eloquence, and now I have at least one foot on the shore while the other remains in the sea. Yea I have been to the feast of correct grammar and stolen the scraps that fell to the floor. To put it simply, I have sought the remedy and found it in such stuff as dreams are made on. Namely, Upon discovering this magnificent pearl of the mind’s eye, I am now able to add a question mark to the end of a sentence? (and sometimes, correctly). No longer shall I see grammar as a dagger before my eyes, but, as one who has died but one death in the eyes of my editor, I see it as a world stage upon which we the players playing our parts must make our entrances and exits.

I will not profess loudly like a cymbal clanging in the darkness of the constant moon, since nothing comes from nothing, but I revel in the books, the arts, the academies that show, contain, and nourish all the world’s libraries. I have not conquered grammar with slings and arrows, but I have trapped it in my snares. Never again will I crown my head with uneasiness over a simple ellipses, but I shall forbid my eternal soul to be disparaged over what I may know, and delight in what I may become. I may never achieve the greatness of William Bullokar, but I may have competency thrust upon me. My heart yearns to peer through the window of the morning sun to learn what light doth shine through. To the ever-changing rules of grammar I say “Out you impediment to the true mind of the heart.” I find my strength in this royal throne of kings, this sceptered bible… This blessed earth, this tome of knowledge… This English book – The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation. (by Jane Strauss).! :;-#@*^?????????????

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