It's BTT again.
Writing guides, grammar books, punctuation how-tos . . . do you read them? Not read them? How many writing books, grammar books, dictionaries–if any–do you have in your library?
Don't read them but do own a handful - although in the age of the internet I doubt that I'd ever buy more as I don't think I've looked at my real life dictionary/thesaurus in years. I do have a copy of Eats, Shoots and Leaves (a gift) but I've never read it as life always seems too short and my reading list too long. I believe somewhere in my shelves should be an illustrated children's book of grammar that I bought when doing my A-Level English course as somehow, when much younger, I managed to miss all the lessons in English that explained what all the terms actually mean (verb, adverb, etc)
I'm happy knowing that a sentence is structured in a certain way "because it is" though and I think my prolific reading as a child probably covered my knowledge gaps. My Grandmother was an English teacher and would correct our use of words if we were using them out of context and woe betide any grandchild who incorrectly applied a ' (your/you're, its'/it's). A classic conversational example, that I am sure any member of my extended family could quote, would be:
Me: "Granny, can we go for a swim?"
Her: "I don't know - can you?"
Me: "Granny, MAY we go for a swim?"
So in answer, (as I seem to be dangerously veering off-topic) I don't use the books I have and only have a faint grasp of the actual "laws" behind grammar and punctuation but as I seem to have absorbed rules via osmosis I get along OK.
Hrmmm. Re-reading this post, it's clear that I don't often use the few punctuation rules I do know when writing this blog but I think I'll live. :D