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Following Grammatical Rules

PoeJoe
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4/12/2010 10:02:54 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Here's a passage from something I'm working on:

"It's got to be a crime to be that beautiful and flirtatious," Harvey sighed.

"Oh, I'm sorry," Sam apologized, taking out his earphones. "You need help with something?"

Harvey shook his head no. "I'm just talking to myself. I'll bother you when I need to."

Sam raised an eyebrow and turned around to where Harvey was ostensibly staring. Did Sam know who?

Now, I know the last sentence should technically be "Did Sam know whom?"

But I think you would agree that the correct way just sounds terrible, and it interrupts the flow.

So I posit the question: in creative writing, when is it OK to break the rules, and when is it not?
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Vi_Veri
Posts: 4,487
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4/12/2010 10:12:02 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Depends on what style of creative writing you are using. As the narrator, are you more casual when describing or more formal? How flowery are you?
I could give a f about no haters as long as my ishes love me.
belle
Posts: 4,113
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4/12/2010 10:31:37 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
whenever you want? especially when the rules are arbitrary (a la who/m) i say all the time! your story is meant to be enjoyed not pored over by grammar nazis. and even if they catch you at something they will invent a complex creative reason for it, making you out to be a genius. so ya, go for it.
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
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4/13/2010 6:14:39 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/12/2010 10:02:54 PM, PoeJoe wrote:
So I posit the question: in creative writing, when is it OK to break the rules, and when is it not?

whenever what you're saying makes sense.

In fact...

It's best not to learn the rules as such, but rather just as tools you can use if and when there is apparent necessity.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
feverish
Posts: 2,716
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4/13/2010 7:23:38 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/12/2010 10:02:54 PM, PoeJoe wrote:

"It's got to be a crime to be that beautiful and flirtatious," Harvey sighed.

"Oh, I'm sorry," Sam apologized, taking out his earphones. "You need help with something?"

Harvey shook his head no. "I'm just talking to myself. I'll bother you when I need to."

Sam raised an eyebrow and turned around to where Harvey was ostensibly staring. Did Sam know who?

Now, I know the last sentence should technically be "Did Sam know whom?"

To me, it makes no sense either way. Did Sam know who what?
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
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4/13/2010 7:33:58 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/13/2010 6:14:39 AM, mattrodstrom wrote:
you can use if>,< and when>,< there is apparent necessity.

lol is that right
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
Vi_Veri
Posts: 4,487
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4/13/2010 8:18:18 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
If you are making it a point to sound formal in your creative piece, go with "whom." If you are being casual in your creative piece, go with "who."
I could give a f about no haters as long as my ishes love me.
PoeJoe
Posts: 3,822
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4/13/2010 3:43:17 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/13/2010 7:23:38 AM, feverish wrote:
To me, it makes no sense either way. Did Sam know who what?

It's more apparent in context. Did Sam know whom Harvey was staring at?

In any case, I'm going with "who." Thanks.
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mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
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4/13/2010 4:17:31 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/13/2010 3:47:56 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
I'm pretty sure certain rules can be broken in creative writing. I do it quite a bit in my writing.

certain rules can be broken all the time!!!
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
PoeJoe
Posts: 3,822
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4/13/2010 5:30:42 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/13/2010 4:17:31 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 4/13/2010 3:47:56 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
I'm pretty sure certain rules can be broken in creative writing. I do it quite a bit in my writing.

certain rules can be broken all the time!!!

Apples the eat boy.
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belle
Posts: 4,113
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4/13/2010 5:34:52 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/13/2010 5:30:42 PM, PoeJoe wrote:
At 4/13/2010 4:17:31 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 4/13/2010 3:47:56 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
I'm pretty sure certain rules can be broken in creative writing. I do it quite a bit in my writing.

certain rules can be broken all the time!!!

Apples the eat boy.

luckily he didn't say all rules :P

but still given what we know about apples, boys, and eating we can still parse that sentence. it just sounds awkward as hell.

a real problem would be something like loves jill jack. who loves who?

thats why we need more cases, like in latin. would make poetry easier too!
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
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4/13/2010 5:36:45 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/13/2010 5:30:42 PM, PoeJoe wrote:
At 4/13/2010 4:17:31 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 4/13/2010 3:47:56 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
I'm pretty sure certain rules can be broken in creative writing. I do it quite a bit in my writing.

certain rules can be broken all the time!!!

mmm... I did say certain rules

so long as something is clear and makes perfect sense... Grammar really doesn't matter one whit.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
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4/13/2010 5:39:24 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
loves jill jack?

would prolly with proper emphasis mean: does jack love jill?

loves jill jack.

I guess would prolly be stating that jack loves jill.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
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4/13/2010 5:46:38 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
on "jack and jill" I think the emphasis is really the key, so it can be tough to write... but still ok to speak... RULES CANNOT CAPTURE IT :)

loves jill.... Jack?

or loves..... Jill jack
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
PoeJoe
Posts: 3,822
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4/13/2010 5:52:08 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/13/2010 5:36:45 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
so long as something is clear and makes perfect sense... Grammar really doesn't matter one whit.

The fact that, and I'm assuming here you know what I mean, "mean" meaning "interpret," though, as if by paradox I'm not making sense, I'm using "mean" to define "mean," which, and, yes, I know "which" cannot be used to represent an entire idea, just an obvious, single word, is confusing, you can be confusing negates the idea that grammar doesn't matter one whit.

Parse that, motherfvcker!
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belle
Posts: 4,113
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4/13/2010 5:52:42 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/13/2010 5:46:38 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
on "jack and jill" I think the emphasis is really the key, so it can be tough to write... but still ok to speak... RULES CANNOT CAPTURE IT :)

loves jill.... Jack?

or loves..... Jill jack

lol give it up. its completely ambiguous in written form. unless you want to try to signify cases with bolding or emphasis so it becomes obvious which is the subject and which is the direct object.

even if its not a question it could mean "loves jill" jack as in loving jill is something that jack does or loves jill jack as in loving jack is something that jill does.
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
belle
Posts: 4,113
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4/13/2010 5:57:04 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/13/2010 5:52:08 PM, PoeJoe wrote:
At 4/13/2010 5:36:45 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
so long as something is clear and makes perfect sense... Grammar really doesn't matter one whit.

The fact that, and I'm assuming here you know what I mean, "mean" meaning "interpret," though, as if by paradox I'm not making sense, I'm using "mean" to define "mean," which, and, yes, I know "which" cannot be used to represent an entire idea, just an obvious, single word, is confusing, you can be confusing negates the idea that grammar doesn't matter one whit.

Parse that, motherfvcker!

the fact that you can ignore the first half of matt's sentence and refute something he never argued doesn't mean that you've made a good point. although your twisty sentence was pleasant to read so not completely worthless.
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
wjmelements
Posts: 8,206
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4/26/2010 2:55:17 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
I hold that in creative writing, as long as the meaning is understood, the grammar can go to hell.
in the blink of an eye you finally see the light
alto2osu
Posts: 277
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4/27/2010 9:30:45 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
Grammar is like any other literary device within the context of creative writing. It should only be discarded in exchange for some sort of meaning. Otherwise, the result is lazy writing. For example, in the front of one of my favorite novels, The Bluest Eye (Toni Morrison), repeats the same passage several times. Each time, she removes a piece of grammar, like punctuation or spaces between words. She did this for a reason.

However, if she'd chosen to write the entire book without punctuation just b/c "in creative writing you can do that," I would call it lazy writing. It's an excuse to stop trying. If grammar can "go to hell," we wouldn't need editors :P

The original concern, who vs. whom, is a much smaller issue. In that case, either one is just as acceptable. I don't like the phrasing in the first place (the narrative question is just weird), but with regards to who vs. whom, either one will suffice. :)