The Compulsive Copyeditor

August 14, 2014

The Grammar GPS

Filed under: Uncategorized — amba12 @ 5:12 pm

Here I’d been describing grammar as train tracks for the brain — brain tracks — and accordingly, describing what happens in the case of bad grammar, particularly grammatical ambiguity (where you come to a fork in the track or stray down the blind spur of a misreading), as a derailing.

How 19th century of me! Obviously, it’s time I got with the program. The grammar part of your brain is a GPS, and a bad writer is a bad driver. When he or she gets you lost, you can just hear your brain draw itself up and say in that icy, nasal voice, dripping with contempt and barely controlled patience, “RECALCULATING.”



  1. And the backseat driver in your new scenario is the pesky commenter who always feels like he has to “add” something. :)

    Comment by chickelit — August 25, 2014 @ 9:50 pm | Reply

  2. I wondered if you might write something about tenses, writing, and editing. It’s something I struggle with constantly — not because I am unaware of sequence of tenses in writing — but rather because I often just write what I’m feeling as if in a conversation.

    Comment by chickelit — January 10, 2015 @ 10:57 am | Reply

  3. Good idea. I may not have time for a little while though. My dad just got out of the hospital and had his 97th birthday, my whole family has been here and is now peeling off one by one, I’m behind on work . . . You want to give it a shot?

    Comment by amba12 — January 10, 2015 @ 11:06 am | Reply

    • *Tenses up*

      Sure…but I’m the one having the problem. I’ll get back to you soon.

      Best wishes to your father — he must have very healthy telomeres.

      Comment by chickelit — January 10, 2015 @ 1:19 pm | Reply

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