Boring Grammar – not so bad

Every school year as far as I can remember, I am taught and re-taught the parts of speech. As I get older it becomes the more complicated and nit-picky things like gerunds, participles, and the oh-so-wonderful multiple types of clauses. Every  year I dread this part of my English class, yet for some reason…this year was different.  I have gained such an enthusiasm for English that every little detail we flesh out of a piece of literature I am almost completley absorbed into. This might be because I have finally realized I have the potential to be a writer, and that I AM a writer (though maybe not a published one). (And also I’ve made quite a lot of progress on my novel-in-progress).

So as I listen in the back of class about what different clauses are used for and which forms of speech are correct or incorrect, I strangely find myself intrigued. Now this also has a great deal to do with how much of an enthusiastic teacher I have, so I thank her for rubbing her enthusiasm off on me. When I first found out that we would begin the dreaded grammar unit, I whined for a moment. But then I got to thinking…is it really all that bad? I had never really stopped to think of the purpose of this boring grammar. It wasn’t until this year that I realized that learning those parts of speech can really help! How? Well for example I learned today that when using a dependent clause, the noun it is modifying should follow directly after. An example of why this is important is the following: “Rotting in the basement, Joe finally found the oranges.” Although most people understand that Joe is not the one rotting, that is technically what this sentence says! If someone had not known the rule about dependent clauses, he or she would have made a rather “grotesque” (pun intended) mistake. Not that anyone in the every day life would care, but when submitting to publishers, I am sure this would not slide by them.

So why whine and mope about learning grammar when you might as well use the time you are stuck in that class to learn something? If you truly want to be a writer (or publisher or editor) you should learn to at least tolerate the lecture, if not embrace the grammatical realm of words that can be twisted and transformed into every possible shape imaginable.

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Suede
    Apr 14, 2011 @ 21:06:19

    Great tip on modifiers. Poor Joe. LOL!


    • abigailkrocker
      Apr 14, 2011 @ 21:29:11

      Thank you. It was an example from my teacher today. I also had a first hand experience with this. My friend was editing my story and well it turned out that grammatically, my sentence said that heads were tunning down hills. Glad that got fixed!

  2. Mr. Creek
    Apr 30, 2011 @ 00:56:41

    Bravo! I am delighted to see a person in the prime of their youth awaken to the thrill of using a language and bending it to their will. It was not until a few years ago that I was ‘awakened’. Oh, ‘What a fool I used to be.’

    Not to be anal but…. isn’t ‘into’ a preposition.

    Ahh… but this could be written (pun intended) off as colloquial comments…. or dramatic license.


    • abigailkrocker
      Apr 30, 2011 @ 18:04:38

      Are you referring to how I ended my sentence with it? Yeah, I’m working on that. Though it’s not until now that I am finally putting away my pride (or was it laziness?) to follow that “no-ending-with-a-preposition” rule. It’s a little difficult to fix, really, but I’m getting the hang of it – slowly.

  3. Mr. Creek
    May 03, 2011 @ 18:45:00

    Ahhh… you caught on to what I was talking about. Oooops! 🙂

    Don’t worry about it. The more you practice it the easier it will become. I have found it to be most important when writing professional letters, reports, etc.

    Since you have chosen fiction (or maybe it chose you) as your main focus, you have more leeway.

    God bless.


  4. Mr. Creek
    May 08, 2011 @ 22:43:30

    Like I said, do not worry. Put it in perspective. With everything life throws at you, a couple points off on a paper for ending a sentence with a preposition is nothing.

    …. and…. you are welcome. 🙂


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