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Post Reply Would you read a fiction novel with terrible grammar but excellent storytelling?
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25 / F / New Jersey, USA
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Posted 8/17/16

aeb0717 wrote:

So, would you read a story with terrible grammar but an excellent storytelling?
Yes, though I likely couldn't tell that there is "excellent storytelling." Atrocious grammar creates a barrier that diminishes my ability to really get into the story, especially when the grammar renders the story incomprehensible.

Would you prefer you novels to have best of both worlds, good grammar and good story telling?
Absolutely. A good story that is written well enough to comprehend to a satisfying extent is greatly preferable, I think.

Could you ever read a novel with great grammar but a horrid storytelling?
Well, yes. I've already done it, usually as a result of having been assigned reading lists and various other assignments in school.

What matters most when writing a story?
Grammar. In written stories, anyway. If people don't understand, then a story is entirely wasted.


You answered the questions! You're a saint!
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48 / M / New England, USA
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Posted 8/17/16
Well I read Stephen King book club early releases and enjoyed them ... so I guess that's a yes. I never understood the grammar Nazi BS, honestly I find it condescending and sad if that's all someone can point out when presented with well thought out ideas.
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22 / M / Fraxinus
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Posted 8/17/16
Depends whether this is a book by a professional author, who has editors and proof readers, whose jobs it is to fix that shit. It also depends how bad we're talking. I'm assuming "terrible" means enough that it would be unavoidably noticeable. I expect a few mistakes here and there. If it's one small mistake every other chapter, then fine, that's not a problem. If it's a stylistic grammatical error, then that's not a problem. If I'm having to constantly restrain myself from cringing and/or facepalming, due to horrendous errors far too often, then we have a problem. Amazing ideas are all well and good, but if it reads like a child wrote it, then of course grammar matters.

Stories published on sites on the internet, however, I'm more forgiving about, as you have writers of varying skill levels.
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Posted 8/17/16
For me the deciding factor would be whether the grammar was so terrible that I had to struggle to even read the work. If not, I would read it. If so, I would probably get too annoyed to continue midway.
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32 / Somewhere...
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Posted 8/17/16
Considering I've done my fair share of editing, I have to say yes. Did I enjoy it? Not really, but that comes with the territory.
Sogno- 
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Posted 8/17/16
i read a novel like that one time

it was awful. i won't read something like that again
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24 / F / United States, DE
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Posted 8/17/16
Nah, I wouldn't be able to get into the story if the grammar was really bad.

Spell check is your friend.
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25 / F / New Jersey, USA
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Posted 8/17/16

YayForKittens wrote:

Nah, I wouldn't be able to get into the story if the grammar was really bad.

Spell check is your friend.


Grammarly would be my friend.............if it were free.
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34 / M / Off the map.
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Posted 8/17/16 , edited 8/17/16
Only if the bad grammar was intentional and reflects a first person point of view. No way on that one if it was unintentional.

Break the rules smartly.
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Posted 8/17/16 , edited 8/17/16
if i didn't, i would have failed philosophy 101

honestly though, with the exception of extremely visible and consistent grammatical errors, it's probably good enough to just get into the rhythm of the writing style of the author. now if an author can use knowledge of grammar to his or her advantage that would be excellent, but as a requirement...that's debatable.
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25 / F / New Jersey, USA
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Posted 8/17/16
Thanks for the comments.
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28 / M / Kansas, USA
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Posted 8/17/16 , edited 8/17/16
I can't even tolerate reading works that abuse short sentences and too often forego the use of commas, semicolons, and an occasional hyphen (Hemingway made me want to gouge my eyes out with a spoon.) I shouldn't be held accountable for my actions if the book has poor grammar. :mellow:

The one exception I will allow is in dialogue. If misspelling and lack or abuse of punctuation, repetition, and other quirks are part of the character--and necessary to illustrate them accurately--then it's alright.
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100 / M
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Posted 8/17/16
That why Steven King (The Horror Writer) have his wife fix his English :p. Since she was English professor at College.
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18 / M
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Posted 8/17/16
I feel like the grammar would hinder my understanding of the story.
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24 / M
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Posted 8/17/16
Grammar isn't exactly separate from storytelling. First of all, bad grammar takes you out of the world of the story and puts you firmly in your chair holding a book. Its jarring and it breaks immersion. Second of all, grammar tells you how things should be read. Something as simple as moving around commas may give you a totally different read of a sentence and different expectations about what the character is saying. Third, there can also be more baseline confusion (Eats shoots and leaves =/= Eats, shoots and leaves).

Basically, if you are printing a book, there is no excuse to not have solid grammar. If you have issues with it yourself, get an editor to help you.
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