Despite being an amateur poet, I could never write song lyrics successfully. There’s a certain musicality to the words that I lack and can’t seem to grasp. It’s not that I’ve ever really tried, though. My experience with words is in function, mostly; I look at words and see them as having clear definitions with clear usage cases. Use this word here under these circumstances, don’t use this word when this other word precedes it, things like that. Words are complicated, fickle things, and it’s impossible to ever really know what sounds right to everyone. People interpret language differently. Grammar was invented to create a sense of what’s “proper” and “improper,” but grammar varies by location. Certain rules are consistent across location, but regionalisms exist for a reason.
Originally, I was going to write this blog post about experience bars, and how they incentivize progression in video games. Instead I went on a tangent and decided to talk about words. I’m not sure how the connection came to be, but I’m going to just keep going and see where it takes me.
In grad school, I took a class on morphology, the study of word formations, and we learned sentence diagrams and morphology trees. They were essential to our growth as future English teachers; being able to justify how sentences work and the intrinsic grammar to them was a fantastic gift.
When doing creative writing, I found that mixing up my grammar created the best reading experience. Trying different sentence structures and fiddling with the rules a bit is necessary to diversify the reading experience. You can’t just write a bunch of bland, declarative sentences over and over again, with hopes that it will eventually sound good. There’s a reason the greatest writers are masters of grammar; they know when to break the rules.