Grammar Nazis FTL

Coincidentally, when I signed on to wordpress to write my blogpost this evening, I came across this interesting piece written by a fellow wordpress blogger concerning common misconceptions about grammar rules:

http://lisakusko.wordpress.com/2011/10/10/lies-your-english-teacher-told-you/

This is extremely interesting to me – some of these are rules I have taken incredibly seriously and often take to correcting in my own (and others’) speech…especially the one about not ending a sentence with a preposition. That being said, I’ve also broken some of these rules – and been chastised for it by certain teachers. I have often began sentences with the words “and” and “but,” and felt completely justified in using them.

So what does this mean for us as teachers? Is this blogger completely correct in what she has written? Should we continue to teach and enforce these rules if they’re not correct?

4 thoughts on “Grammar Nazis FTL

  1. Sarah Geis says:

    I really enjoyed reading that blog that you posted a link to. And I totally and completely agree that those rules are stupid. I would like to know where she learned about that Ben Johnson anecdote. Every once in a while But is the best way to begin a sentence. BUT of course there is a time when it may be deemed inappropriate. While high school teachers should encourage using words besides “and” and “but” to begin a sentence they should also tell kids that it is not forbidden. At least I think that is how I will approach it someday.

  2. Keeley Thode says:

    I agree with Sarah….most of those rules seem crazy. As a future teacher, I think it is important to teach the usual and standard grammar rules but also make sure that my students are aware that they can often bend and break rules. Flexibility is “key” when it comes to writing!

  3. randimoulton says:

    That article blew my mind, mostly because I’ve had professors tell me those same rules. I don’t use words like ‘and,’ ‘but,’ or ‘because’ to begin a sentence…in formal papers. In personal/nonfiction essays? Heck yes, I do! I try not to break those “rules” in formal writing like literary analysis, but I definitely use them in more personal writing, and I think it adds my “voice” to my writing when I do so. I think it’s useful to point out these “rules” to students, but to introduce them as not being the end-all-be-all of writing. As that blogger mentioned, I think the not-ending-in-a-preposition rule is a good one to point out *simply because* of the problem she mentions where someone may write “what time is it at?” That annoys me. But I’m glad to know that it’s not a set-in-stone “rule,” since I’m sometimes guilty. 🙂

  4. Really good post! To me, these rules are so curious. I am not a native English speaker, and for so many years, I’ve been told those same rules again and again. Interesting enough, we have them in Spanish, too! I agree with my fellow bloggers and with the author of this link: when teaching writing, it is important to recognize that “breaking the rule” can be acceptable sometimes, but only when the continuing flow of ideas is not affected.
    -Luis

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