Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Grammarians...

are making a comeback. We cranky professors are thrilled.

Discussions - 8 Comments

Here, here!

Where, where?


I am going to print out this article for my community college students. They seem not to believe me when I tell them that correct grammar is important. One student wrote an essay on how to write an essay. The thesis of his paper was that proper grammar was essential to a good essay. A laudable sentiment and I wholeheartedly agreed, yet his work was one howlingly awful sentence after another. It was no more than typically ill-formed, but in context and given his appalling consistency, "A person should be aware of their grammar because one could look dumb if they use bad grammar." or "Don’t use contractions in a college essay." - oh, it was wickedly funny. I could wish that he had done it on purpose, but I know his work.

If the ability to form language is settled fairly early in childhood, then the high school teachers mentioned in that article, and I in this freshman composition class, are really struggling to teach English as a second language to these English-speaking adults. Wouldn’t such remediation be better done in early elementary school? Of course, it would, but as this article points out,
The newest English teachers are products of a grammarless era, even as I am, myself, having come to English grammar through the study of other languages.

Forgive me, but wouldn’t that sentence be better written as "Grammarians... are coming back!" Or "will come back!"

LOL (I Laugh Aloud)

I was just a little nervous writing this post, as I was certain that someone would find fault with the way I formulated it.

LOL indeed!

Come-back in the OED is
2. colloq. (orig. U.S.). A recovery; a return to a former state of health, prosperity, etc.; spec. a return to one’s former position; a reinstatement in a position of authority or power; esp. in phr. to make or stage a comeback, to achieve a success after retirement or failure. and surely for a blog the colloquial is acceptable. Honestly. I am grading papers this afternoon and there has never been a blog on NLT, not even John Lewis’ stream of consciousness comments, nor the worst rapid-fired mess-up that is as difficult to read or understand as these.

Kate, having just edited and commented on a handful of drafts from first year students, I feel your pain. Is there anything in teaching more ... em, painful, than reading student papers?

By the way, I learned English grammar while learning Latin. But I always was a good speller!

I’m glad to see that John Lewis comes across every bit as fascinatingly incoherent in the blogosphere as he did in conversation as a classmate of mine. I’d liken conversation with him to contemplating infinity. Intriguing in its length and complexity, but ultimately overwhelming and incomprehensible. Good guy, though.

Paul, I love to read the John Lewis comments, but I have to read them at least twice to make any sense of them, at all. Sometimes he is overwhelming, as to length and density, and every now and then, I admit, I do find him incomprehensible. Even in those impalpables, there is always some phrase or two that that I repeat to myself, knowing there is meat in it somewhere, if I can only just mentally masticate to it. I appreciate your appreciation.


Paul Seaton, I learned English grammar while learning Italian, so much the same thing. I also, was always a good speller, seeing the words as if on the inside of my eyelids.


As to my student’s papers, ther are always the true gigglers for me, as this: m "And then he died, out of the blue."


P.S., If I still have your attention; some time back, we were writing about popular music. I wrote a comment that became too long and too late to post, but which I sent to my sons, to their delight. They passed it on to their friends who were similarly delighted. It was in response to a question of your. I would send it to you, if I knew where to send it - as in an email address. Would you like it? Let me know.

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