Monday, September 10, 2012

Back in School

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.

No comments: