Echoing W. Somerset Maugham: “I do not write as I want to; I write as I can.”

Echoing W. Somerset Maugham:

“I do not write as I want to; I write as I can.”

“English grammar is very difficult and few writers have avoided making mistakes in it. So heedful a writer as Henry James, for instance, on occasion wrote so ungrammatically that a schoolmaster, finding such errors in the schoolboy’s essay, would be justly indignant. ..

“It is necessary to know grammar, and it is better to write grammatically than not, but it is well to remember that grammar is common speech formulated. Usage is the only test. I prefer a phrase that is easy and unaffected to a phrase that is grammatical…

“One of the differences between French and English is that in French you can be grammatical with complete naturalness, but in English not invariably. It is difficult in writing English that the sound of the living voice dominates the look of the printed version. I have given the matter of style a great deal of thought and I have taken great pains. I have written few pages and I feel I could not improve and far too many that I have left with dissatisfaction because, try as I would, I could do no better…”

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