Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Almighty Grammar

The issue of grammar is one that is important for me, mostly because it is a continuing struggle. I feel that I have a better-than-average grasp of it, but I know that I am far from perfect. I know that some of the rules that I thoughtlessly use as I quickly write a first draft are way off and I rely on revisions to catch my slips. Even with the extra work, some things slip by and make solid points and arguments weak. Maybe that is a myth to investigate in itself: a paper is only as good as its grammar.
In the process of gaining writing skills the biggest point for me was having solid content. Even before I really understood what a good thesis statement was I wanted to write papers that left some sort of impact on the reader. As I developed rhetorical skill and learned better analysis methods, I felt that there was still a gaping hole when it came to grammar. The grammar I was taught in grammar school was not formal and relied more on cultural transfer than solid lessons on rules. As I progressed, there seemed to be a general disagreement as to where formal teaching should be. Some said "you will get to that later", while others said "you should have already learned that" with no one taking charge. By the time I reached university, I realized that many of the flaws in my writing came from an absence of formal instruction and a dependance on transfer.
I am at the point now where I can appreciate the importance of proper grammar, but know that it is not the be-all-end-all that I feared it was. It can be a huge issue when it interferes with clarity, and professors will surely make something of it. It is more than fair to penalize for grammar mistakes to ensure that the student learns something, but it is a disservice to not acknowledge what they do right in terms of content. So I will put this myth to rest for myself. Grammar is extremely important in composition, but is far from the only factor.
Gary Lindeburg
Blog 8


Post a Comment

<< Home