If you haven’t read ‘Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation’ by Lynn Truss – you really should. I didn’t think I would find myself laughing out loud at a grammar book, but I did.
I find that without any formal training I am having to do a lot of digging on my own. My big grammar issue now is punctuation for dialogue. Technical writing courses (the classes I took) do not involve a lot of witty banter.
I think my problem with punctuation is that when I read, everything disappears except the story. Even when I was trying to look specifically at different books to see the punctuation I would get caught up in reading and miss how it was being punctuated.
Like this gem- when your quotation goes on for more than one paragraph – you don’t place quotation marks at the end of the first paragraph (which I knew), but you do place quotation marks at the beginning of the next paragraph to indicate that the quotation continues. I had no idea. I think I noticed it one time and just thought that someone had dropped a quotation mark.
Sad how one can be very educated in one field and completely ignorant in another. I’ve got a road ahead of me.
Time to go edit dialogue. What is your worst grammar stumbling block?