A professor of language, who knew many foreign languages, was once asked, 'How many languages do you know?'
His answer: 'Half of English.'
The English language has over 500,000 words and the average person will know...maybe, 10,000. What is that? 2%? That's not much and those words have to be put together properly with something known as 'grammar'.
Grammar-shamammar! What difference does it make as long as I can get my ideas across? Okay... but how can you get your ideas across if you can't express them clearly.
In the Elements of Style, White writes: "Every writer, by the way he uses the language, reveals something of his spirit, his habits, his capacities, his bias. This is inevitable as well as enjoyable..."
So then, what should style be? Style is a function of plot, characters and theme. Style should be a balance.
1) know grammar rules
2) break grammar rules (you can't break rules if you don't know them...)
3) know words...I mean, really KNOW words
4) and then, love words... really LOVE words
Every writer should be a student of words. Keep adding words to your vocabulary. But above all, really know the words already in your vocabulary. Don't use DESENSITIZED words such as love or moon or rose. Words we hear over and over until they don't bring emotions to mind anymore.
1) The boy carefully squeezed himself through the fence. (He's a sausage)
2) The boy wriggled through the fence. (He's a worm)
3) The boy carefully pushed himself through the fence. (Boring!)
4) The boy insinuated himself between the bars of the fence. (Interesting, a different take on a word...which means gently, slowly or imperceptibly, to creep.)
So love words, live words, use words to their fullest meaning!
Source: Theme and Strategy