Grammar Disappointment…

I was banished today as a group of Quilters descended on the house and Dog and I were surplus to requirements. We took ourselves for a walk. Also took my laptop so, at a suitable coffee stop, I could have a look at my editor’s latest, hopefully final thoughts on the sequel to my first book which I want to publish shortly. I was fairly confident that there wouldn’t be much but the first question involved grammar and… well, I have an awkward relationship with grammar, in truth. My apostrophes lack a certain consistency, I’m obsessed with get the tenses right so it makes me rather tense if I don’t…. but one thing that turns me inside our with barely suppressed fury is a split infinitive. They don’t matter, I tell myself; everyone does it these days, like eating in the street and wearing hats indoors. But I have a thing…

To share my disappointment with myself I thought I’d re-share a poem I wrote and posted a while back. I hope you are more forgiving of your own grammatical faux-pas than me…

I’ve always hated grammar

So imagine my surprise

When suddenly last summer

I came across this prize

A message in a bottle

That really made me frown

It forced my stops to glottel

And turned my verbs to nouns.

My tenses were not passive

When the letter I pulled free

It left me with this massive

Urge to throw it back to sea.

The writer started out with prose

Which filled me full of terror

Because, and let us just suppose

It was a schoolboy error.

He tried to use a rhyming scheme

A sort of limerick

Which was enough to make me scream

And an urge, his bubble, to prick.

I am not proud, I have to say

I tore his words to pieces

Which left him somewhere high and dry

Alone amongst his clichés.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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41 Responses to Grammar Disappointment…

  1. Ha! Love it. And I also abhor a split infinitive.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Darlene says:

    I’ve just finished the final edits on my next release and was amazed to learn that some grammar rules have changed. Go figure! How are we supposed to keep up?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You boldly go where I fear to tread. The mention of split infinitives surely makes my skin break out. Best of luck with your grammar quest.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Ritu says:

    Don’t… New grammar rules are ridiculous… I don’t even understand the names of some of the things yr 6 need to be taught… And I’m a teacher as well as a writer!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. And this, dear Geoff, is why I used an editor because semi colons, commas and inverted commas give me a headache. Splendid poem and good to see the photographs of you at the bloggers bash.


  6. Lol, I’m not letting you near my work then! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I thought that was the job of an editor …….. writers write and editors make it readable?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. willowdot21 says:

    Excellent sir 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  9. JT Twissel says:

    I used to manage a group of editors and they were also arguing about some point of grammar or another. The would get so incensed that even years later a couple of them refuse to talk to each other! The poem is very apt,

    Liked by 2 people

  10. JT Twissel says:

    “always” arguing and… “They” would get … oh boy.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Rowena says:

    Greetings my dear Geoffle,
    My apologies for absenting myself at the lower reaches of the planet. However, I’ve been beavering away on my book project and am about to launch a new blog to go with it. At long last, I’m finally moving forward.
    My question to everyone who claims to have liked and read this post, you’ve missed the typo embedded deep within the text. I’m sure you planted it there just to check whether we’re paying attention and whether we’re prepared to step out of our comfort zones and actually offer some constructive feedback instead of offering sweet pleasantries.
    So, where is it?
    “but one thing that turns me inside our with barely suppressed fury is a split infinitive”
    I presume that should read “out”.
    I firmly believe it’s impossible to truly proof your own work because you know what should be there and can easily miss tiny mistakes.
    BTW I gather I’ve missed the Bloggers’ Bash. I do hope to get over there for it one day.
    My weekly in-person coffee companion has migrated North for a three month trip through the UK and Europe. Another friend is in New York setting up the early stages of her off Broadway musical Milf. Am I starting to sound like I’m feeling left behind? You bet. However, my moment will come…
    Best wishes,


  12. All of and off of are what abide I cannot

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pam Lazos says:

    Grammar. Who needs it!?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Elizabeth says:

    I used to tell my students that they regarded commas as salt and just sprinkled them around their writing. You are more judicious. Moving from passive to active makes the most difference, and you have done that. As for split infinitives–who cares?

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Me me me… my history master – a man of genius and an inspiration – loathed it as he did PW Botha (he was a South African Marxist) and smokey bacon crisps (the devil’s munchible) and would humiliate any examples found in our essays… I’m scarred…


  15. Widdershins says:

    I embraced the oxford comma in my writing even before I knew what it was, it just made sense to me, but that is as far into the minefield grammatica as I’m going to go. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Loved the poem Geoff and sorry it left you a little tense…hugsx


  17. Norah says:

    We all have our grammar grievances, Geoff. I constantly fought with Grammarly so turned it off. 🙂
    Loved your poem.


  18. Ha! I argued split infinitives with my former sixth grade teacher recently.


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