Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Weird Grammar

There are a just a few weird grammar rules I can think of that I fell victim to. I can honestly say that I wasn't taught a comma rule until my junior year of high school, so I operated by the comma where you put a breath idea for the majority of my education. Luckily for me I think I had good instincts when it came to putting in punctuation for my sentences, so  my teachers started to sort of gloss over my writing. I rarely had a teacher point out to me or explain my comma errors. I so wish someone would have told me the comma rules sooner! They are really not that hard, and my sentences would have been so much more solid if I had known how to punctuate them.

Another concept that was drilled into my head by multiple English teachers was that using "I" in a paper is never allowed. NEVER allowed. My teacher sophomore year was especially hardcore about enforcing this rule in her classroom. As a direct result of her incessant yelling about not using "I", I still struggle to use the pronoun in my academic writing. I often have to catch myself from not telling students to automatically take out every "I" in their paper, even when they use effective phrases such as "I will argue" or " I will discuss..." in a thesis statement. This teacher would mark down major points for saying anything along those lines, and an "I think" would just about send her into a fit.

I agree with Amanda's logic as to why these incorrect grammar rules are taught. The English language seems to have an exception to every rule.I think that teachers would rather give a blanket statement that will prevent the student from making the mistake in most situations than to take the time to explain each exception. I feel great empathy for students who are learning English as a second language, as I am sure that it is incredibly frustrating to learn that many basic grammar rules have exceptions. That being said, I try to tell ESL students when the error they have made is just a silly exception. I think it is important to identify that they have not made a mistake in their logic or else they might start to believe they don't understand the applicable grammar concept.

I feel fortunate to have only had a few strange grammar rules taught to me over the years, and I am even more grateful that teachers in my AP courses were able to set me straight and explain my mistakes to me.


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