Grammar Gaffes

Grammar Gaffes

I thought I had a secure grasp of grammar until I became a writer. Then I realized that the rules I wrote with were inadequate. That martinet of a teacher who drummed correct usage into the heads of the students missed me. I blundered through school never knowing how much I didn’t know until I began writing for a living.
Then I had to puzzle out the difference between canvas and canvass, flair and flare, hoard and horde and phase and faze. Imprecisely defined words  lay  in my brain and intruded on my writing, desecrating particularly fine sentences. Editors pointed out that I should know the difference between elicit and illicit; eminent, imminent and immanent; illusion and allusion; forbear and forebear; proceed and precede; and many others that waited to slip into my writing and change the meaning.  I have been constant and deliberate in my learning, and I now believe that I am more knowledgeable than my spell check program. But because I missed that rigid tartar of a teacher in elementary school, I am never really sure of that.