Free From Grammar At Last

I’m re-reading Bridget Jones’s Diary. Every so often, a girl needs a little entertainment in her life.

What has really spoken to me this time is the diary-style license author Helen Fielding has taken with the way the book is written. Much of the book isn’t quite in full sentences, latitude has been taken with the grammar, and Fielding often uses abbreviations rather than full words.

Example: “Have had v.g. idea about birthday. Am going to ask everyone round for cocktails, perhaps Manhattans. Will then have given to guests something in manner of grand society hostess…”

What strikes me about this—

1. BJD was published 1996—several years before text messaging was widely adopted. And yet here is Helen’s Bridget, leaving out the subject of some sentences, eliminating articles (a, the—I think those are articles?) and using acronyms. At the time, Fielding was probably slammed by the literary police for not using proper grammar or sentence structure—and thus not being a serious writer. But in fact, Fielding was futurist, predicting imminent shortened use of language adapted for not-yet-invented smartphone devices.

2. As people with smartphones now text an average of 27 messages daily, abbreviated writing style becoming not just accepted, but the norm.  Predict will spread to literature. Eventual outcome will be global acceptance as standard writing style, replacing stodgy old adherence to grammar rules. (Text messaging stat taken from Wikipedia—current repository of all worldly knowledge.

3. Is v.g. news for me, who never got better than B grades in grammar. Now feel free to create own literary masterpiece using self-created grammar rules rather than ones dictated by frumpy Mrs. Craighead at Cave Spring Junior High in 1975. Am finally vindicated as turns out was right, no need to pay attention in grammar class. Even if make living as writer. Ha!

Now brainstorming own shorthand novel. With time saved not having to perfect grammar might actually finish first chapter before get bored and move on to something else.



  1. Susan Hanley says:

    Think will also spread to spoken word, hence sputtering conversations normal. Robots all.

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