Thursday, September 06, 2012

Defining Grammar

Defining Grammar

Generally when people start a new job or begin an important endeavor, they feel a certain degree of nervousness or fear.  Many times this fear stems from a feeling of inadequacy.  The fear of the unknown can make us question ourselves and our ability to rise to the task at hand. From the brief period I have been working in the writing center I have noticed that the majority of my fellow tutors are studying English for their undergraduate degree, or pursuing a masters of English.  This is obviously a great contribution for the writing center in general, but at the same time I can not help feeling somewhat of a lay person in regard to defining grammar mistakes for those students I tutor. I feel comfortable in my ability to identify sentences that are incorrect (Remember: Ain’t ain’t a word so I ain’t go to use it) but my greatest anxiety is explaining to future students how to construct sentences using technical grammar terms. 
In my Political Science undergraduate study there was a substantial amount of writing required.  A grammatically correct paper would leave a positive impression, but it was the strength of my proposed argument that made the difference between and A or B.  When the time comes for me to give the grammatical explanation to a student I know my first thought will be changing the subject to making sure all his or her arguments are well stated, but I know I must step up to the plate and focus on the task at hand.  Throughout my life I have noticed that my greatest challenges have resulted in my most memorable moments of personal satisfaction.  
 All academic writing strives to have a strong thesis, including the study of English. English, however, is the finishing touch, the folded kerchief in the well-tailored suit. An English paper, like the well put-together man, is subtle, aesthetically pleasing although you may not know why until you examine the detail.  


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