Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Using correct grammar actually important

Mark Goldblatt, who teaches at the Fashion Institute of Technology at the State Univ of NY (WSJ, Sept 3, 2013, gets quite het up over the dreadful usage and the inability of students to get their thoughts across in writing.

Grammar, he says, does not count so much in 140 characters. And people reading that may cut you a break--they may know and even like you.

But college teachers don't know you and may not like you, he says.

Say you needed a semi-colon and don't know what that is--well, the eye is stopped in the midst of your sentence--and the reader, often an elite, grammatical prof, thinks, "What a dolt."

There is such a thing as good writing, he says, but no such thing as good grammar--only the absence of correct grammar. Competent grammar is grammar you don't notice.

You want to be understood, to be taken seriously. This may mean remedial English when you get to college.

"Learn what a clause is," Goldblatt instructs, "what a gerund is, what a misplaced modifier is."

You should have learned this a long time ago--he says.

Go to it.

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