Sunday, February 15, 2009

I Ain't Got No English Grammar

Somehow I made it from Kindergarten through post graduate work without any memory of studying grammar. Maybe I was asleep or day dreaming. Perhaps it just wasn't taught or I forgot. Whatever the reason, now I wish I could go back and untangle the mess of pronouns, parts of speech, prepositional phrases, predicates, past participles and punctuation.

Writing was never my strong point. I was so "spelling challenged" that when my 5th grade teacher took me on as a project, I couldn't even copy the spelling words from the book to the chalk board without making mistakes. In the days before computers, I labored long over scraps of paper taped together into rough drafts of term papers. Correct grammar was the least of my worries as I worked into the wee hours correcting typos on my father's manual typewriter.

I swore I would never write another sentence after I finished school and chose an art related field in an attempt to keep my oath. No such luck. Interior design is 10% creative design, and the other 90% is a combination of psychology and marketing. Memos, proposals, budgets, persuasive speeches and written explanations far outweigh design. Sleeping through sentence diagramming in school created a definite handicap. Still, in a design studio full of grammar dodgers, I sounded like an English professor. After a while, I even started to like writing.

A few years ago, I bought a book at a middle school book sale called, "Checking Your Grammar and Getting It Right." The fact that it was written for young teens made it much more accessible to a neophyte like myself, but I've read it cover to cover and I still get everything jumbled up. The computer has been my salvation. Spell checking and the ability to quickly delete or move around whole sections of text certainly beats dictionaries with hundreds of pages of tiny type and countless pieces of paper taped together on the living room rug.

This blog and other opportunities to write, have opened a world I previously avoided because of my fear of poor spelling and flawed grammar. Even though I might not always "get it right," I enjoy the process of communicating my thoughts to whomever out there in cyberspace might happen to stumble onto my humble words.

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