Why I’m Learning Grammar: Grammar Foundations Class Review

My coaching student scoffed. “Why are you learning grammar?”

A part of me was with her, scoffing at grammar that meant memorizing latinate words. Grammar that was removed by the spectacles of a stickler. Grammar that was about analyzing rather than creating.

I decided to learn grammar, really damn well this year, because of Chef’s Table, and because of Audre Lorde.

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What Chef’s Table Taught Me About Grammar

I’ve seen every episode of Chef’s Table, and I love it so much because it’s the story of an artist’s life. They work in food. I work in words.

One thing I noticed about each of the chefs is that they get All. Up. In. their craft. Their kitchens are filled with books. They know all about the chemistry. They visit the farms.

They are experts not just in the execution of their work, but in the ingredients and the processes of it.

If I want to be an artist, I need to bow down to my craft the way they bow down to theirs.

What Audre Lorde Says About Grammar

Then I read Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider, which is one of the many pieces of art we should have been assigned in school, but weren’t.

Here’s the part that made me want to learn grammar:

“I learned to teach grammar. And then I realized that we can’t separate these two things. We have to do them together because they’re integral. That’s when I learned how important grammar is, that part of the understanding process is grammatical. That’s how I taught myself to write prose. I keep learning and learning. I’d come into my class and say, “Guess what I found out last night. Tenses are a way of ordering the chaos around time.” I learned that grammar was not arbitrary, that it served a purpose, that it helped to form the way we through, that it could be freeing as well as restrictive.”
― Audre Lorde

Freeing. So fine, I made a plan. I made a curriculum. One of my first stops was to LinkedIn Learning. I looked at Grammar Foundations and Advanced Grammar. I calculated that if I just watched one video a day, I could have these two done in two months. Of course, I already know a bit about grammar, but I want to be a word chef.

I just finished Grammar Foundations. Here’s my review:

Why I took Grammar Foundations:

To truly know I was starting from the beginning and getting the solid foundation I was too busy flirting with boys in 6th grade to get then.

What I learned in Grammar Foundations:

I took a lot of notes to make sure I was paying attention, and only let myself watch one video a day so I wasn’t just running the clock with my eyes glazing over.

Here’s everything that was new to me:

Adverbs

Adverbs describe adjectives. So is it: Lauren is real/really confused. It’s an adjective that’s being described, so it’s really. 

Joanne’ tan gave her a slight/slightly orange appearance. Slightly!

Other common adverbs:

  • Very 
  • Always 
  • Tomorrow
  • Other time words

Adjectives

Describes, tells about, further explains, or otherwise modifies a nouns

Types people get wrong:

  • Comparative:
    • ex: tall, taller, tallest. “Taller” would be for two. -er, two things, two letters. 
  • Superlative:
    • “Tallest” would be for three or more. Two is comparative, three or more is superlative.  

Punctuating Phrases:

Use a comma after a long opening phrase (four or more words). 

  • In the red supply cabinet, the paper is on the third shelf. 

Singular and joint ownership:

Colin and Marla’s reports have been submitted – if they worked on the reports together, this is right. 

Colin’s and Marla’s reports have been submitted – if they each turned in individual reports, this one is correct. 

Numbers:

If the numbers are in a series, use the same format for all, e.g.: We found 30 baskets, 2 computers, and 7 folders. 

If they’re not in a series, just use the regular rule.

If two numbers are side-by-side, spell out the first, e.g. The banquet room will acommodate twelve 15-foot tables. 

Punctuating quotes:

Whereas punctuation usually goes inside quotes, semi-colons and colons go outside quotes

Who this class is for:

People who were sleeping through middle school and want to start again, from the get-go. If you don’t feel confident in your grammar, I think this is a great place to start!

Now on to Advanced Grammar!

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