July 18, 2008

The Geek Reigns!

My company has an annual training week. We're required to take at least four hours of class. I took a writing workshop this morning that felt like a return to 8th grade--grammar, punctuation and spelling--but, it was great! She included all kinds of tips about things I knew intuitively, but couldn't articulate.
  • If you substitute 'he' for 'who', and 'him' for 'whom', you can usually figure out which one to use.
  • All singular verbs end in 's'.
  • First and second person use a plural verb (I like, you like), only third person uses a singular (he likes).
  • Either/or and Neither/nor: the subject closest to the verb determines plurality (Neither the brothers nor the sister wants the toy. Neither the sister nor the brothers want the toy).
  • Singular indefinite pronouns (any combo of every, some, no, any with body, one, or thing) require singular verbs. (Everyone should improve her writing skills.)
At the beginning of class, she passed out a test. When I came back to the department, I told Gentle Man and British Boy about the test. They both wanted to try it. I ran back out and got copies. As we went over the results, the writer on our team came over and asked to take it as well. We all sat around and did grammar for the fun of it! My score tied with the writer on the team.

(Blows on fingers, polishes them on chest)

Did you enjoy the process of learning grammar in school? I've never had it feel as fun as it did today. I remember getting marks off because my words were outside the margins, red ink that had NOTHING to do with what I was writing about. Why are the worst teachers often the ones in intro 7th and 8th grade subjects?


crajee chick said...

I think your blog was my first grammar class! Haha! My ESOL teacher never taught us grammar(weird huh?), so I've always been self conscious about my English.

crajee chick said...

BTW, do you know of any good grammar reference books???

Rachel said...

Congratuations! I'm not surprised, because you are a good writer, and I don't ever remember seeing a grammatical error in any of your posts.

I love grammar, but I'm actually not a stickler about things like who/ whom or ending a sentence in a preposition. Sometimes the "correct" way has fallen so far out of usage that it sounds sort of awkward. But it does bother me when someone drops the "s" on a third-person-singular verb.

Sam said...

My 7th grade Lang. Arts teacher was so mean - I couldn't learn anything from her. My mother taught me grammar in like 3rd or 4th grade and thank god i was able to find her notes when i was older - they made so much more sense to me in 8th grade.

Beloved said...

I was homeschooled by the grammar queen (aka my mom). I diagrammed a LOT of sentences during the three years I stayed home (grades 2-5). I credit my mom for my decent grammar skills. I did take a master's course in grammar though, and wanted to be put out of my misery two weeks in. I did alright, but I never really got it together. I stink at teaching grammar, which is definitely not a good thing when you're an ESL teacher.

Mama Nabi said...

You DO know that I want to take that test, right?

Anonymous said...

* All singular verbs end in 's'.
* Singular indefinite pronouns require singular verbs. (E.g. "Everyone should improve her writing skills.")

Why are so many seventh and eighth grade teachers such poor teachers?

1. They have such lousy students.
Remember puberty? The kids have five to ten minute attention spans.
2. Most of the teachers have been
driven over the edge.
3. No sensible person would teach
junior high.
4. Salaries are supposed to be linked with skill, care and effort.
If that were done in the US, junior high teachers would be more highly paid than corporate CEOs.