Posted by: markfender | October 9, 2012

Whither Spelling?

I’m an English major. That means I have to take a lot of classes about things English people are interested in.

One of those classes is Advanced Grammar. Which is a terrible class. The teacher uses a lot of terms I haven’t heard since I last took grammar in the 7th grade and we have to diagram sentences. Lots and lots of diagramming.

Now, if you asked me, I could write you out a nice and proper English sentence. I could punctuate it correctly. I know how grammar works. I might not know the technical terms, but I know the basics. I know the difference between “who” and “whom.” So this diagramming thing is dumb. It especially annoys me because my professor also wants us to identify the sentence pattern for each diagram. What’s a sentence pattern, you might be asking? Well, it’s entirely arbitrary. We have two grammar books and they both have different lists of sentence patterns. So, it’s not even a “rule” of grammar – it’s just whatever grammarians say it is (Which is probably true of how most of our words work, but at least those are standards that can be “enforced.” But this sentence pattern nonsense is just arbitrary.)

And I did check: there is not a Basic Grammar class offered.

But it did highlight a different question: Why isn’t there an Advanced Spelling class? I would be a whiz at that. I can spell some words. It’s just as important as a skill. Is it because computers will just spellcheck things (incorrectly) for us? Where’s the “diagram sentence” button in Word?

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Responses

  1. I’d love to have a handy diagramming tool if only to use in mocking folks’ incomprehensible netspeak.


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