July 9th, 2008


words making sentences making paragraphs

I Write Gud...

...but I can't tell you why.

To be more specific, I am absolutely pants at grammar. This is not as it should be; I grew up at a time, and in a place, where grammar was precisely half of the English lessons elementary students were taught. I remember learning about nouns, adjectives and verbs; I remember diagramming sentences. Beyond that? Nothing.

(You'll notice that I didn't include adverbs in that list of grammatical things I learned. That's because when they tried to explain adverbs, my brain glazed over.)

And yet, I apparently know how to put together words that make sentences that make paragraphs and stories. I also know bad writing when I see it, whether it's a matter of horrendous spelling, or of plainly execrable structure.

That being the case, I probably shouldn't waste a single precious second of my life obsessing about how grammatically illiterate I am. And yet I do, I do.

I keep meaning to re-discover Grammar Land; there's no logical reason for me to be completely at sea when discussing past and/or dangling participles, subordinate (but still spunky) clauses, or conjunctions of any kind. Even as I type this, I'm looking at the hardcover copy I have of Karen Elizabeth Gordon's The Deluxe Transitive Vampire, which I've dipped into a number of times. It's a marvelous book, full of wit, and written so well that anyone - anyone should be able to learn grammar with its help.

Not me, however. Every time I venture past page 6, I feel the varnish flowing smoothly across my brain, from frontal lobe to medulla oblongata.

It is all a puzzlement to me, I'm afraid.