Friday, February 18, 2011

Personal Style

There are a few conventions of standard written English that I knowingly and willingly ignore.  One of them is that I will not put punctuation inside of quotation marks unless it is part of what I am quoting (although that actually is a convention in everywhere that isn't America).  Another is that I capitalize every word in my titles.  It's not that I don't know the rules; I simply don't care about them.  If I was writing a book, I may care about capitalizing in the conventional way, but for my blog posts, I don't like the way it looks.  They are short and sit right on top of the body text, so I like them to greatly stand out.

Although it is helpful and important to learn the standard conventions of writing, it is also important to develop your own style.  The fact that there are three common and equally accepted versions of written English means that there is no single right way.  Find the way that is right for you.

If you don't have a style, don't worry about it.  Do what you know.  I have only broken from conventions because I disagreed with them.  I think it's stupid to put a question mark inside of quotation marks because the sentence was a question, despite the fact that the quote was a statement.  It's confusing.

Your style of writing is all about how you choose to express yourself.  It's about how you use the written language to convey your ideas.  Commonly, we think of it as word choice and sentence structure.  These are definitely valid, but there is more possible.  Sometimes you will have to break conventions to make your style work.  But when you realize that you have to do it, you will know that your style means something, and that it matters.

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