1. Maria Mirabella
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    Maria Mirabella New Member

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    Grammar

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Maria Mirabella, Dec 29, 2011.

    Did you study grammar at school? Does the knowledge of grammar rules effect your writing positively? Or were these tedious grammar lessons just a waste of time?
     
  2. Blue Night
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    Blue Night Active Member

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    Learning grammar has always been a positive influence on my writing. In the states, we have to learn Proper English. That is part of the American educational system.
    But, Proper English comes from England. I'm referring to standardized English as adopted by the United States, not the origin of English.
    There’s the problem.
    We use too much slang.
    I have always taken English and have always gotten a ‘C’.
    That was throughout my elementary years.
    Writing true English is hard.
    So I study grammar. I will never stop.
    “I’ll pull out my 9 and bust a cap in his ass,” isn’t exactly correct.
    I don’t want to write that way. I want to write correctly.
    I will always study grammar. To my last breath.
     
  3. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    Studying grammar is never a waste of time.
     
  4. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I had to study grammar as a kid in school, but I never paid much attention to it and didn't even realize that grammar was being taught to me. The reason was that I read a TON as a child, and had already internalized the vast majority of grammar by the time they started teaching it. So it felt like I was just learning names for things I already knew bone-deep.

    Studying grammar is never a bad thing, but, in my opinion, the best thing is to read LOTS when you're young, so that grammar is part of your being before you ever confront it at school. I'm always befuddled by would-be writers in their twenties who ask questions about points of grammar that they should have understood when they were eight years old or so, just by reading.
     
  5. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    For me it's never a waste of time, it's a huge lesson when it comes to new words. I look at it like new doors to higher scales of profound language. I find it very intriguing.
     
  6. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ditto!
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    of course... i'm sure everyone who went to school did, no matter where in the world they grew up...

    again, that's a given, since one must know the rules of grammar to be able to write coherently...

    certainly not for me, even though since i read constantly and voraciously from an early age, i'd also absorbed much of the grammar ins and outs on my own, from my reading... and i have to assume it wouldn't be for anyone who is or wants to be a writer, since writing first of all requires a basic knowledge of grammar...
     
  8. haribol
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    haribol Member

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    I am a nonnative writer in English and I never read books of Grammar and nor had gone through school curriculum or any classes to learn grammar. I had made a thousand and one grammatical mistakes and I am making even now and yet I do not care about them. I take a natural course and I mostly internalize what I read and it goes effortlessly. I read thousands sentences a day and come across so many words and sentence structures and they go naturally internalized inside me in the course and now I have gained a little confidence and suppose I am not making too many grammatical mistakes in what I write on this forum
     
  9. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    I studied grammar at university. When you study it at that level it ceases to be a set of rules and is more a question of getting to know the different ways things can be put together and the effects of those different ways. I found analysis of different types of writing to be particularly valuable; the grammatical differences between speech, journalism, fiction, technical writing and so on. I enjoy crime fiction, but it's a continued annoyance that when even the most famous writers include supposed newspaper reports of crimes the reports read like crime fiction, not newspaper reports. Studying grammar has given me the tools to understand why they miss the mark, and to analyse my own writing.
     
  10. Amr M. Abdu
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    Amr M. Abdu Member

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    Calling grammar lessons 'tedious' reveals a lot about the way you were taught grammar. I hated grammar in school, but when I started self-studying, I found it much more enjoyable. Sometimes, teachers can make you HATE a subject. There are plenty of books about grammar that are both informative and FUN to read. Proper grammar and punctuation could take your writing from zero to hero. My comment on your thread is a self reminder as well; I have a lot to learn myself.
     
  11. Maria Mirabella
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    Maria Mirabella New Member

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    I do not blame teachers on making grammar little fun. I believe grammar, like math or science, is too serious and complex to be funny. Of course, it can be presented in the form of games on the lowest levels of complexity, but the more seriously you study it, the less funny it becomes. IMHO.

    PS.I studied grammar at school and at uni for many years by different teachers who applied various methodologies. Love it! It brings logic and structural beauty to the language.
     
  12. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    I studied grammar at school from the age of five, as part of the usual English lessons. We didn't have a lesson called 'Grammar'. I loved it--and studying Latin, too.
     
  13. LTC
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    LTC Member

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    Essentially the same for me. I've been writing since I was literate, and making use of participial phrases and anaphora before I even knew what they were. I don't think it was utterly pointless for me to have learned the labels of these grammatical elements, but I cannot say there is a grammar lesson that has helped me with my writing today. Despite that, I find it an intriguing subject and while I know most of the material, I do love learning about grammar techniques and authors associated with them. So in a way, I suppose, grammar has helped me become more familiar with classic literature. But aside from that...

    I'm going to take a risk here and make the claim that a conscious understanding of the English grammatical structure is not required in order to write. Many of you claim that grammar lessons are necessary for being a writer, but if I can write a compound-complex sentence and not acknowledge that fact, what of it? I will agree, though, that it is useful in analyzing literature and familiarizing yourself with classic literature(Shakespeare, Dickens, etc.), which can help you become a better and wiser writer.
     
  14. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I was taught grammar ad nauseum up until junior high school, when our English teacher quite honestly stated that if we didn't understand it by that time, we never would. To this day, I couldn't tell you what a participle is, let alone if it's past or not. And frankly, I don't see the need to know that. I do know how to put a sentence together so it sounds right, and I recognize when the tenses are mixed up. Now, whether or not that has to do with the early grammar lessons, my mother (ex-teacher) going over my homework constantly, or a voracious appetite for reading from early on, I couldn't tell you. I only know when something doesn't sound right, and that discussions of grammar terminology make my eyes cross. (Honestly? I think if writers are getting so involved with the grammar and other "technical" issues of writing, they're losing track of the important thing - writing the story. But that's JMHO.)
     
  15. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    I studied literature of one form or another at undergrad and postgrad level, so yes, I think grammar is important. To be able to offer critique it's not enough just knowing grammar instinctively from reading, you have to know the terminology and theory in order to discuss and express those concepts. If I read a sentence that isn't grammatically correct, how can I explain how and why unless I know the correct rules and have the critical language to communicate them?

    It also enables you to answer criticism of your own work. I analyse every single sentence I write, and I know when I am breaking the rules. If I do, it's on purpose.

    Also, as a classical philologist (ancient Greek and Latin) and a student of modern languages, I would say that knowledge of English grammar is essential to learning the grammar systems of other languages. If I don't know what a present active indicative third person plural noun equates to in English, I'm never going to be able to figure out what it means in ancient Greek ;-)
     
  16. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    a what? :D
     
  17. Party Poison
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    Party Poison Member

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    Ninth grade English is-- boring and stupid at my lowest standards. lol

    I just want to write my heart out how I want to, not follow others advice.
     
  18. BurningPassion
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    BurningPassion New Member

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    It doesn't only affect your writing positively, it also increases your English morality as a whole.
     
  19. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    Bum, I meant verb, haha! Caught out by an early start for work after pulling an all nighter on my chapter, lol
     
  20. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    No problem - I still don't know what it is! :D
     
  21. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    I know exactly how that feels......
     
  22. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    ok, you didn't want me to do this, but the sadistic grammarian in me insists ;-)

    present - self explanatory I think, occuring in the present tense
    active - as opposed to passive, so the subject is doing the verb
    indicative - this refers to the 'mood' of the verb, which we don't have in English. The 'indicative' mood in classical Greek is used for ordinary statements of fact, such as 'I see the sea'. To give examples of other 'moods' in greek, the subjunctive (stay with me here!) is used to convey a sense of conditionality or dependency on other clauses in the sentence, i.e. 'I would/could see the sea if I wasn't blind' ;)
    Third person plural - 'they'

    So, an example of a present active indicative third person plural verb (in English) is: 'they see'

    In Greek it's βλέπουσιν - 'blepousin' :D
     
  23. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    huh?... what does 'morality' have to do with anything here?
     
  24. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd just write "They see." and be happy. :p :D
     
  25. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    I think you kinda missed the point of my post... I don't parse every single word I write, but it's important to KNOW what I'm writing and why it's correct or not correct, and even more important to know the correct terminology in order to express that. Otherwise you just sound ignorant trying to criticise something you don't understand.
     

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