I don’t have any recollection of learning grammar as a child…in fact, I don’t remember learning grammar as a teenager. I am starting to think that there’s a lot of people in the same boat and I’m wondering if this is what our schooling was like, where’s the hope for the next generation?
I was chatting to a friend the other day and somehow this topic was raised, and she told me the story of how she will never forget sitting her year 12 exam and realising that she had never been taught to write an essay. She was still fuming at the fact, 11 years on.
I went to the same school and I always felt confident writing an essay. Essays I could handle. Maths? I don’t think so. English was my strength though and that was probably due to a number of factors – I was bilingual, I loved to read books way out of my age range, and because I liked it, I wanted to be good at it.
After I studied a year of Professional Writing and Editing I turned into a real grammar nazi. I always hated poor grammar, but I especially hated seeing it coming from our future teachers, professionals and media! The eye of an editor was within me and I couldn’t shake it. And still, to this day, I can’t read a blog post, newspaper, sign, my husband’s writing, anything really, without editing it in my head!
I don’t think it’s the fault of the person using the poor grammar a lot of the time. English is a ridiculously complicated language and if you haven’t been taught the ins and outs of WHY a grammar rule is the way it is, you won’t know which way to go when you are faced with a grammatical choice….
Speaking of choices…
Use ITS when referring to an item or the possession of something. Eg. “I like its hair” “What about the leaders of its country?”
Why? Because “It’s” with an apostrophe is short for IT IS. If you put “it is” in place of “its” it won’t make sense.
Eg. “I like it is hair” that doesn’t make sense so it must be “its” without the apostrophe.
That’s the rule to stick by when trying to decide which one to use.
I could write a million of these, but I don’t want to come across as a condescending twat. Let me know if you want more or if I’m being a grammar snob…if there’s such a thing!
In the meantime, I hope there’s still some grammar left in the world in 20 years time, and when I get back in the classroom I’ll continue to do my absolute best to instil a non-tolerance of bad grammar, for this is what fuels the use of good grammar!
Do you need a brush up on grammar or were you taught the specifics growing up?