Thursday, May 13, 2010

You Just Got SCHOOLED!





Irene M. Mead

Look at the picture.
Look at the bottom.
Look at the date.


I am now the proud owner of a 110-year-old book.

Previous owner? Wm S. Hall

Never have I ever owned an older book. An antique, as some would say. And it's in my "field," of course. I'm as giddy as...(too easy, so I won't finish the cliché, but it is so very appropriate).

"Modes of Expressing Ideas.-- Ideas may be expressed by symbols, called words or by groups of these, called phrases.

Words.-- Ideas may be grouped into two great classes, those which represent things and those which represent attributes of things; i.e., into substantive ideas, and attributive ideas. But, as has been shown, the mind in thinking detects relations existing between these ideas, hence symbols of relationship are needed.

A word, then, is a sign, oral or written, of an idea, or of a relation, and words may be logically classified as follows..."

As I sit here practically drooling, all I can think about is the conversation I had with a friend over lunch yesterday. He said Grammar was something "not" able to be discussed in college classrooms--at least at one particular university.

It's a "hot button" issue. GRAMMAR is a hot button issue?!? It is politically motivated?

There are differences in spoken and written grammar, yes. Misusage in spoken grammar hardly makes communication difficult. Poor grammar when it is WRITTEN though...Different story, altogether.

I've read (or have had) enough student fiction to tell you this is a fact. There have been sentences that are so nonsensical that the reader would have a difficult time telling you what exactly is occurring.

I guess that's what "editors" are for...which is a piss poor excuse, thankyouverymuch!

I don't know the difference between complete and incomplete verbs. I don't know the difference between root infinitives and gerunds. I am no "Grammar Nazi"...

"The Gerund, which is always formed by adding ing to the root, and which therefore looks precisely like the progressive participle, but differs wholly in origin, meaning, and use."

I had an extremely "active" school situation when I was growing up. Army Brats transfer all the damn time:

  • Kindergarten through Second grade, one school (in one country)
  • Second grade through Fourth grade, one school (in a different country)
  • Fourth grade (different school, again)
  • Fourth grade through Seven grade (another city, another school)
  • Eighth grade through Tenth grade (another country, another school)
  • My Junior and Senior year of high school? ANOTHER city, ANOTHER school...

But guess what? I can almost always manage subject/verb agreements. A comma splice is rare. I like to use dashes and semicolons too. I have a degree in English, I've worked on it...and it is natural to assume that if someone plans to be a Writer:

One who is engaged in literary composition as a profession; an author; as, a writer of novels.

They would study grammar, writing, form. They would be reading everything under the sun. They would not be turning in horribly crafted sentences that leave the reader wondering, "What just happened!?!?"

But let me slink off my soap box and say this again: I have a (old) NEW BOOK and I am going to study it thoroughly (and I'm going to love every minute of it).


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