Thursday, May 15, 2008
Grappling for Grammar
I'm so excited! I start school next week. Seriously! I'm going back to college. Hee hee. Well, that's not exactly accurate since it's only one class and I'm taking it online.
It's a grammar class at Central Oregon Community College and I'm taking it to brush up on those pesky repeater goofs that plague me now and then. My grammar is fine for the most part, but sometimes I screw up using pronouns depending on where they appear in a sentence. And the correct use of "was" and "were" is an intermittent problem for me.
I'm very fortunate to have a retired English teacher as one of my critique partners, and she catches everything. But I can't depend on her to be there for me forever. The apron strings must be cut. Sniff.
Here's an example of what I'm talking about:
I suddenly wished my spiky hair wasn't too short to hide behind.
The correct word is weren't. Though that doesn't sound right to me, it's still the proper way to use it.
And here's one of my pronoun errors:
I pictured this Turkish warrior beating up my teachers, most of whom were bigger than him.
The correct useage would be bigger than "he" and not "him."
I'm probably the best comma-user on the planet, I know how and when to use lay, laying and laid, and I've never had an issue with who or whom. And I know the difference between that and which. So hopefully I'll ace those particular lessons. I'll let you know.
If you have issues with your grammar, or just want to see where you stand, I highly recommend this website for some excellent grammar exercises. They've added about a dozen more categories since I last visited. Hmm… Maybe I didn't need to shell out my $89 for the college course.
Here's the syllabus for the course I'm taking at COCC. Looks like fun, doesn't it? I can hardly wait to jump right in and stretch those atrophied grammar muscles. After all, the eighth grad was a really long time ago. For me, anyway. COCC has other writing classes, too, and I'm thinking of taking the one on writing magazine articles as well.
So do you have any particular problem areas with your grammar? How confident are you that you can simply "get by" in this increasingly competitive industry we've chosen for ourselves? Personally, I've decided not to take any chances. It's tough enough as it is.