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No writing time

November 30, 2009

thanks to Endicott College students. My English Comp students don’t know how to write sentences and I don’t know how to talk to them about sentences as I have lots of complex feelings and ideas about sentences. Their feelings are not so complex. They just don’t want to write them, let alone string them together into paragraphs. I understand not wanting to talk about sentences. Grammar used to sail over my head when I was a student. But it is harder for me to understand not wanting to write. I wrote instinctively. They text instinctively. A good thing, I guess, since, after all, they are writing, albeit with curious abbreviations and emblems. As for me, now, I am interested in usage issues. For instance: “since” vs. “as” — when should we use one and not the other? What happens with adjectives when paired with helping verbs? Don’t worry. I don’t mention these niceties to my suffering students. Today I found myself reading, yes reading, one of those Composition handbooks, the kind that has sections entitled commas and APA Citations. The kind I never opened in high school.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Erica permalink
    December 12, 2009 9:24 am

    I was just having a debate with myself the other day about whether we should continue to hold students to the accepted standards of English composition and whether we should still teach cursive in schools….but that’s another debate). Look at how much language has changed since the time of Shakespeare, for example. He and his contemporaries would be horrified by half of the sentences on your blog or in my notebooks, and yet most of them qualify as perfectly acceptable, standard English these days. I’m afraid that “nite,” “u” and “tho” are right around the corner. Think of how much paper, space and time we would save if words were never more than four characters long! Frankly, I like cursive (and whole sentences), but I’m afraid that some day I will be in the minority.

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