My Grammar Manifesto

Without putting blame on someone other than myself — when that is in fact exactly what I am going to be doing — I believe that I am complete shit at grammar because of Alberta’s grammar curriculum.

Okay but seriously — hear me out. The process in which we learn grammar is not helpful. If you ask me to look at a series of sentences and look for subject-verb disagreements and dangling and misplaced modifiers, I should have no difficulty in catching 80% of the errors. The problem lies in being able to catch my own mistakes, in my own voice. We are taught grammar out of a 20 page booklet in a unit that lasts less than a month out of the year. Our English teachers say, “have at her, I’ll mark it when you’re done” and we’re sent on our merry way. I’ll have you know that I aced those booklets. I am sure that I would get a solid 85-90% on those stupid things.

The problem was not in the learning, but in the method.

We were never taught how to correct our own grammar mistakes. We were never taught how to correct our own voice in our heads that we inevitably hear and listen to for every piece we have ever written. So what is the good in that?

Our papers would come back to us dripping in ink. On the off chance that we were able to resubmit we would blindly apply the requests to “drop a comma” there or “rephrase this sentence” here, never knowing the reasons why they were wrong in the first place. We blindly put our trust in our grade school teachers and came out of high school, believing we were amazing writers — because that’s what we were told — without knowing shit about grammar.

Oh, but we could recite all of the schoolhouse rock songs, that was helpful.

~ Bronté

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One thought on “My Grammar Manifesto

  1. This is a very interesting take on grammar. I’ve never considered the idea that we were never taught to correct our own grammar, and it’s true that this is where the difficulty lies. Teachers can teach us the rules, but then what? I suppose that it’s up to us to take these rules and apply it to the much more difficult task of objectively looking at our own work. Great post, Bronte!

    Like

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