Concerning Grammar

May 1, 2009

Our Civic Writing class had a long discussion about grammar, especially that found in blogs, such as this one. Many people felt that to point out the poor grammar of an individual’s post was in bad taste; that it was nothing more than an attack on the writer, and not a key issue of the subject matter at all. And there are times when I do agree with this; don’t troll someone’s post just to be an ass. If you really want to hurt someone, then attack their position, not their grammar.

But it doesn’t always have to be considered nit-picking. In fact, if I screw up grammatically anywhere in this post, then please, feel free to correct me. I want to know, in an attempt to learn, improve, and never make that mistake again, (hopefully).

I like grammar. I don’t know why. I always had fun diagramming sentences, and locating dependant clauses, and correcting noun-verb number. I like studying grammar the same way some people like solving algebraic equations, (which, admittedly, I have fun doing as well).

I think people are far too proud. Don’t you want to be corrected? Obviously, the person pointing out your mistakes should do so in a nice, constructive way, but I always aim for improvement. Swallow your pride, and say “thank you”. Sometimes, people aren’t looking to “get you”; sometimes, they’re just looking to help you out.

I get it; sometimes it seems pretentious of a stranger to correct your flaws. But if people were to accept help more often, then perhaps we’d all grow just a little more on a daily basis. This is what we as a community should strive for; constant improvement. Then again, it was Don Marquis who said “The chief obstacle to the progress of the human race is the human race.”

Advertisements

One Response to “Concerning Grammar”

  1. Notelrac said

    “Our Civic Writing class had a long discussion about grammar, especially that found in blogs, such as this one.”
    Comma, splice. Replace with “…found in blogs — such as this one”
    “focusing on” instead of “especially that found in”

    “in bad taste; that it was nothing”
    good use of semicolon

    “And there are times…”
    Starting a sentence with “And” is deprecated in formal writing, although it does work here as you are attempting to establish an informal conversational style with the reader.

    “that it was nothing more than an attack on the writer, and not a key issue of the subject matter at all”
    I disagree. Oftentimes the writer’s meaning is incomprehensible due to a grammatical failure. Explaining what the failure is and asking for a clarification might further the discussion, instead of derailing it.

    “I want to know, in an attempt to learn, improve, and never make that mistake again, (hopefully).”
    Comma,splice
    “hopefully” is a wishy-washy word. Your writing will be more powerful if you do not equivocate. Likewise, it’s use in a parenthetical setting.

    “locating dependant (sic) clauses”
    dependent. The spell checker should have caught this.

    “noun-verb number”
    I’m not sure whether you mean parallelism, or noun-verb agreement, or case agreement.

    “I like grammar…. I like studying grammar.”
    Using the same weak intransitive verb twice in one paragraph diminishes your argumentative thrust. Consider referencing a thesaurus.

    “…solving algebraic equations, (which, admittedly, I have fun doing as well)”.
    While this technically is not a comma splice, when combined with the earlier faults it would overwhelm, the, reader.
    Correct punctuation would be “…I have fun doing as well.)” Likewise
    say “thank you.”
    to “get you;”

    “…we as a community should strive for; constant improvement”
    A colon instead of a semicolon would be an improvement.

    Did you allow yourself sufficient time to revise this essay before posting it, or is it the outcome of an impending grade-induced deadline and the ensuing one-night-wonder writing exercise?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: