Monday, December 10, 2012

Grammer Schmammar; Oct. 15 Prompt

Grammer Schmammer
            Throughout grade school, only two main grammar superstitions were taught to me as fact. These two superstitions are fairly common among most of the student I have taught this semester. The first is that a comma should be placed wherever a breath needs to be taken or is taken. The second is that no sentences should end in a preposition. However, this semester has taught me differently.
            While I already knew that the comma placement “rule” was a superstition, I held on very tightly to the proposition rule. Even this very semester, I told students that it should not be used. However, I often found that there were some phrases that did not make sense if they were not ended with a preposition. In our classroom discussion about the “dangling preposition,” I finally realized that it was acceptable to end a sentence with a preposition.
            Although I do agree and accept that sentences can end with a preposition, I still believe that some sentence should not. One example of a bad use is “Where you at?” or “Where are you at?” Despite the fact that prepositions can end a sentence, this one should not. Maybe it is a personal preference, but ending a sentence with an unnecessary preposition is not acceptable. However, there are some good examples of this. While I cannot remember the exact quote off the top of my head, Winston Churchill spoke a great example of this. If the sentence or thought needs to end in a preposition, there is nothing wrong with it. When I sentence ends with an unnecessary preposition or the sentence could be reworded to add clarity, the writer should do what they can to make their point known more clearly.
            In my classroom response, I spoke about this very thing. I explained that after our classroom discussion, I would not suggest to students to reword certain sentences, but I still would other sentences, ones that ended with unnecessary prepositions or could be reworded for clarity. I wrote in that response, “For example, I would not suggest to a student to rewrite, ‘The light bulb is an invention I could never think of.’ However, I would suggest a student rewrite, ‘Alberston’s is the store I buy all my groceries at.’ The reason I would suggest revision of the second sentence is that the sentence would easier for the audience to read had it been written ‘Alberston’s is the store where I buy all my groceries.’” While it is always easy to say, “It’s always this way and never that way,” it is deceptive. English grammar is, paradoxically, organized chaos. While we understand how to use the language, we seldom understand why it is used the way it is. The more I learn about English grammar, the more I realize I do not know about it, and the more I pity those who are learning English as a second language. 


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