Sunday, November 17, 2013

Blog 8: As Grammar Goes

Blog 8: As Grammar Goes/Shelley Williams

As far as grammar rules I can remember, I don't remember them, i.e., I don't remember learning them. I just remember knowing how to use them, or a good number of them. It was only in dissecting sentences via sentence diagramming that I got lost or a little lost. And sadly, I got the most lost when I should have known the rules the best--in college.

I had a grammar course as an undergraduate but didn't fare as well as I felt I should have given the fact that I am a visual non-verbal learner by first preference.  What I think happened was that I had learned the way the words looked on the page and sounded in my head as I read them and to tease them apart from that format made them make less not more sense to me. In grad school I had a course that I believe was called Discrete Discourse. Well, no, it probably wasn't that (and I'm too lazy to look it up). If it were that, it would have sounded like a contraband course. But the gist of the course was that there are only certain choices we can make in making sense of sentences. THAT course was the kind of grammar that stuck with me, though the course was not exactly intended for that purpose (of teaching grammar). But what it did teach, inadvertently, was that we understand syntax of our language better than we think we do, and because we do, we can teach it better knowing that. Leastwise, that's what I got out of the class, or one of the things.

One rule just came to mind from my tender years, mainly because I recently caught myself misspelling/misusing it in haste, e.g., " 'i' before 'e' except after 'c'." I suppose, upon further reflection, I was taught the old school rules about not starting a sentence with a conjunction nor ending with a preposition. However, to some extent, I think I ignored these rules earlier on than was in vogue before "new school" grammar took over, which is really just another way of saying before we threw the baby out with the bathwater in favor of substance/content, which, okay, upon honest reflection again, IS the baby. Then, I suppose the better way to say that would be we now have to give dry, sponge-baths to our babies because students have next to no grammar now that substance is king. And frankly, shouldn't a royal baby deserve actual water to bathe in though?  I'm just sayin' . . .


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