Grammer matter’s bc other country’s know are language better then us*

Here’s a little lesson in humility for the following:

*  Every North American who sees no value in learning our own language well, let alone anyone else’s

*  Every North American who makes fun of people who come from other countries and struggle to live in our country, learn our culture, and speak our language

Over the years, I have led numerous grammar “review” sessions at various colleges and universities where I’ve been a professor. These sessions cover the three major problem areas for most people:

1. Apostrophes
2. Pronouns
3. Irregular verbs, especially transitive and intransitive (the biggies are lie vs. lay)

Did you notice how I put the word review in quotation marks? That’s because, for many of my students, it’s the first time they’ve ever heard it.

Of course there are other trouble spots. These are the main ones that lots of people get wrong, including many “professional” writers. Again, note my use of quotation marks.

In all my years of review sessions with hundreds of students, most of whom have come through our public K-12 schools, I have met only one student who already knew this material thoroughly — knew it so well, in fact, that he was able to stay one step ahead for most of the review session.

One student.


Want to know where he’s from?




*PS:  If you caught all eight errors in my headline, then you are probably either: a) as frustrated as I am at the appalling state of language instruction in the United States; or b) foreign.



Filed under classroom, education, education, grammar, Quick takes, Uncategorized

2 responses to “Grammer matter’s bc other country’s know are language better then us*

  1. Linda

    I have had similar experiences with students. Many of them confessed that they never paid attention to grammar lessons in school, but far more said that they had never been taught grammar. This comes from the era of “just get your thoughts on paper. Don’t worry about spelling and grammar.” As a writing professor, I was told by the department chair NOT to mark down for grammar and spelling.


  2. Aaaack.

    When I was an undergraduate, many of my post-Beat-Generation professors were quite proud of the fact that they didn’t correct spelling or grammar on students’ papers. To do so, they argued, would be to “get in the way” of creativity.

    I would argue just the opposite: A facility with language actually facilitates creativity. It allows the writer to play with words and meaning; it allows the writer to say exactly what he or she means; and it allows the reader to understand exactly what is being said.

    Besides, I suspect there was another reason those professors weren’t making corrections. I think they either didn’t know where the errors were, or were too lazy to correct them.

    In any event, I saw a whole generation of soon-to-be-English teachers–my classmates in the Honors English program–graduating from college without any inkling how to teach the English language, since they themselves were not taught.

    It is beyond sad.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s