Let’s face it — we all hate it!  Grammar that is.  We hated it when we had to take the subject in school.  We hated it when it cost us a good grade on a paper.  We still hate it now as we write novels, memoirs, essays, articles and blog posts.

BUT grammar is an essential part of our language and how our writing comes across to our reader.  

And correct grammar is essential to good writing unless a character or plot benefits from the opposite.

Starting today, my plan is to include one post per month here on some aspect of writing and writing well.  These posts will hopefully appear on the first Thursday of the month.

To start this monthly series, let’s talk about grammar vs. usage. 

Grammar is defined simply as the study of words, their inflections, functions and uses in a sentence as well as a study of what is preferred and avoided in their inflection and syntax.  In other words, when we reference “grammar,” we’re speaking about the rules of the game.

Usage is the outgrowth of how language has habitually evolved among the native speaker of a particular language, i.e. English, French, Spanish, German, and so on.  Basically, usage is the customary way in which a language is spoken or written.

Good written and spoken language then requires both the incorporation of appropriate grammar, together with the customary usage of words and phrases in the language being used.

Do you have thoughts or comments regarding grammar vs. usage?  Please add to the conversation by sharing them below.