Tuesday, November 2, 2010

No Such Grammatical Rule or No Such Rule in Grammar (Part 2 of 3)

In a sentence, we actually have two power positions. In a straight, declarative statement, it's the final word—what we want to emphasize.

Let's see how this works by referring to a piece of advice a professional writer gave me when I was still new in the publishing business. Or I could say this stronger: When I was still new in the publishing business, a professional gave me a piece of advice. Both are correct, but it depends on whether I want to emphasize publishing business or advice.

Here's the advice she gave me, which will make this clearer: (1) If you're going to be a writer, you must be willing to walk naked down the street. (2) If you're going to be a writer, you must be willing to walk down the street naked.

Obviously, the second is stronger. Down the street isn't important and carries no significant meaning, so we sneak such weak words into the middle of the sentence.

Look at the title of this column again. Which is the more emphatic word? Is it Rule or Grammar? I put the titles in my preferred order but either works.

Skilled writers know what they want to emphasize in a sentence.
It's something we can learn.


  1. I added myself to follow your blog. You are more than welcome to visit mine and become a follower if you want to.

    God Bless You :-)


  2. Cec,
    We eagerly absorb your posts. Please keep the nuggets coming. Greetings from the Rockies & much gratitude from us both!


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