I saw this on Sarah Salway's blog and thought it was worth a re-post.
Back in the day, when I was at secondary school, I used to dread lessons in grammar. They were so boring. They usually involved copying tonnes of sentences and applying the same rule until we got the hang of it. I did get a bit of a buzz knowing that I had mastered a new rule, though. I suspect I was in the minority of thirteen-year-olds in my class.
While I was at university, I was at first suprised at how many English Literature and Creative Writing students didn't know how to follow simple grammar and punctuation rules. By the end of my three years, however, I was more suprised if a short story did use speech marks correctly, or have semi-colons where they actually made sense. I sound snobbish, but it's true. That's not to say the quality of writing wasn't good. Often the best stories had the poorest grammar - and I think that's a shame.
Perhaps it all comes down to secondary (and primary) school English lessons. Our grammar lessons were boring as hell, but I'm glad I went through them. Grammar is a tool that a writer uses to enhance their work. Grammar works for you, it isn't your enemy.
And thus enter...
Grammar Girl provides 'short, friendly tips to improve your writing' via daily emails to your inbox or short podcasts. I'm also now following her on my twitter account.