Archive for the ‘Grammar’ Category

grammar: check, please.

In which I, yet again, turn to John Green to help me out with a blog post. This (spoken) quote of his pretty accurately sums up my own feelings about grammar: “Let me just acknowledge that the function of grammar is to make language as efficient and clear and transparent as possible. But if we’re […]

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Grammar: Your First Step in Making Things Happen in the World

At first, grammar doesn’t seem all that essential to making things happen in the world. In fact, living in a state where pronunciation and spelling have at best a nodding acquaintance (Trenton and Newark are routinely pronounced Tren’n and Newurk), the proper forms of the English might not feel like it has much sway. But […]

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Grammar as a Function of Standardization

Having a relationship with grammar is not always an easy thing.  For even the best of native speakers, their dialect can deviate from the rules set forth by those who came before us.  How, then, do we cope with this mysterious force which supposedly guides our writing habits?  I think the first step is to […]

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Is the Best Way to Learn (English) Grammar Through Another Language?

It seems appropriate to me that the blog topic this month is taking a “stab” at grammar – violence/extreme frustration pervades the tone more often than not when I have conversations about grammar. This is easy to pinpoint for me. The rules of grammar come from listening to English for so long. When I have […]

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Confessions of a Sentence “Diagrammarian”

“I really do not know that anything has ever been more exciting than diagramming sentences.”   – Gertrude Stein The humorist Dave Barry gave sarcastic instructions for diagramming sentences as follows: “First spread the sentence out on a clean, flat surface, such as an ironing board. Then, using a sharp pencil or X-Acto knife, locate the […]

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Me fail English? That’s unpossible.

For my high school honors English class, we were given split grades on the papers we handed in:  one for “ideas,” the other for grammar.  Paper after paper, my final grade would be A/F.  A for ideas, F for grammar.  I always puzzled over this.  If my grammar was so poor, how could my teacher […]

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Down with Grammar: Celebrating The Ide(a)s of March

Beware the Ides of March. Just like Brutus did to Caesar  I’m about to “take a stab” at grammar. I’m a writing consultant and a writing instructor, but I think grammar is just an accessory to effective written communication, not the ruler of it. I want to take grammar down and allow the voices of others […]

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Grammar and Me(s)

When I think about what grammar means to me, I realize that it depends which “me” we’re talking about. Grammar means different things to me “the writer,” me “the editor,” and me “the reader.” Me: The Writer As a writer, I think that grammar can be very constraining, especially during the early stages of writing. […]

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Grammar, Grammar Gives You Power

My fondest memory of learning grammar in grade school was listening to or watching School House Rock hits like “Conjunction Junction” and “Interjections!” I can still hear some of the tracks playing in my mind. Sure, I learned grammar through formal instruction and worksheets, just like everyone else probably did, but I learned a great […]

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Two Grammar Poems

Poem about Love this love is is is to be is is to be, having always been to be, is A Poem Not about Love what was isn’t is is to be (at most) was but what was isn’t even was if it were was then was would be is but is isn’t ising any […]

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