Mark Twain once wrote: “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and lightning bug.”
Worse is inadequate knowledge of the difference between right and wrong. Below is an attempt to write sentences, which will be left untouched by Spelling and Grammar check tools and unremarked by many native speakers of the land of my birth. Blame the schools...
No quiz will follow, so don't worry if you spotted no problems...
Because I attended grammar school in the United States, when it stopped teaching grammar, I learned the little grammar I know trying to learn French and from reading The New Yorker. Because of that, I tend to use more, rather than less, commas. I follow rules in Elements Of Style, written by a former New Yorker writer, which most writers seem to ignore. Now, I understand the source of that predilection.
The following piece for The New Yorker helps to explain why I like The New Yorker. For most, it will only be gibberish, esoteric...or foolish.
English-speaking people, especially Americans and English, give little thought to grammar. They learn to speak (at differing degrees of competence) from a young age and don't look back or take a refresher course.
Europeans (I won't get into Chinese!) reveal their level of education through language. Grammar complexity facilitates spotting foreigners. National character is often reflected in the language, or language stamps itself upon national character. It's a chicken/egg kind of thing. No country other than Germany could have come up with a word like Schadenfreude. Comparisons reveal differences, but are often unexplainable. For example, why is a table feminine in French and masculine in German? Not rhyme or reason. Articles, which are not a problem in English since every thing is the, are a pain in the neck and require years to master. I will never learn them, meaning that I will always make mistakes. There are three German articles, which means that guessing gives me a 33 1/3 chance of being correct. Of course, mistakes get compounded because of declensions...which never plague English speakers.
Everyone is familiar World War II movies in which some threatening Nazi guard controls for counterfeit passports at a rail station or border crossing to Switzerland and someone flees a hail of bullets. It would have been easier to check for spies by asking a grammar question...
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.