Being back in the school is a good and right thing to be doing at this point. But at the same time feels funny. I have or I should say, had the potential to be one of those English nerds -- someone who went around correcting people’s grammar. If, at a young age, I had been at all pushed in that direction I would have been into reading and writing. It all comes fairly second nature to me. With my tendency towards perfectionism, I would have been a natural. Of course, I don’t have the personality of a librarian, so I’m sure it has all turned out for the best.
Regardless, I am thankful for a natural ability to “hear” the correct way to write a sentence under usual circumstances. I do a have bit of trouble in a few area but I’m learning tricks for remember grammatical rules.
So far, songs have been my best help. When I was studying for the grammar entrance exam for Northwestern I wrote out a little card with a chart for “lay” and “lie” and at the bottom I wrote, “Bob Dylan was wrong.” I had one of the real grammar nerds in the school’s learning center ask me what that meant. I explained,
“When Bob Dylan sings, ‘Lay, lady, lay. Lay upon a smoky brass bed.’ he was wrong, it should have been ‘lie’. In this way, I can remember what people do and the difference in what we do to objects.”
The other day I was struggling in the school library over “I was” and “I were”. (I was working on the grammar rules for a class.) I asked a librarian for help. In her effort to explain it to me she went to the Grammar Girl website (which I highly recommend) to help explain the time when you use were. As she showed me the page I realized I’d read and maybe even listened to this topic from Grammar Girl before. That was disconcerting since I just discovered Grammar Girl within the last 6 months -- why can’t a remember this rule! But then someone said, “Think of Tevye.” I immediately thought of the line, “If I were a rich man...” The trick for “were” is if it’s a wish or impossibility. I feel confident I will remember now.
If I run into any more issues I have trouble remembering I will look for a song that illustrates it. Unfortunately, it’s a little late in the game for me to become a proper grammar police officer. However, with a bit of effort I hope to get to the point where I can catch myself and avoid being lazy in the area of writing. It turns out that Business Communications class is almost all about grammar, so here’s my chance to practice.