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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by alternate_universe View Post
    Unfortunately, teachers can only do so much in terms of teaching grammar considering it's not a major part of the standardized tests they're being driven to freak out about. Many of us would love to do more grammar, creative writing, art, music, etc. but simply don't have the time because we need to get in the material that's on the tests. It sucks, but it's the current reality and we're not all happy it.
    I have heard this many, many times from other teachers--and this is why I never blame their former teachers for the writing problems of my college students.
    I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne



  2. #42
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    The compressions, phonetic abbreviations and pidgin-speak in text messaging are appropriate for that application. I have no issue with those.

    E-mail suffers mostly, it seems to me, because it is composed in haste and rarely edited before sending.

    Conversational usage has always been more casual than formal writing or formal speaking and since it is transient, all that really matters is whether the message is clear. It has the advantage that misstatements and ambiguities can be cleared up in real time.

    It strikes me that among adults, anyway, conversational English is at a higher level than when I was a kid, possibly because despite the lack of worthwhile content, the media provide a standard of sorts.

    The problem with poor grammar in writing, it seems to me, is that it creates the equivalent of a social class division. The lack of adequate emphasis on and experience with formal writing and correct grammar in K-12 education and even in college has the unfortunate tendency to make even very intelligent and well-educated people seem at times to be ignorant, putting them at an avoidable disadvantage.
    "Things should be as simple as possible,
    but no simpler." - Einstein

    “So what’s up with years of lessons? You still can’t ride a damn horse?!”


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  3. #43
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    Beentheredonethat and Dewey,

    I think you've hit the nail on the head when you write that you learned from reading. Although when I attended jr. high I had a daily 30-40 minute dose of Warriner's, I attribute my writing skill to the fact that I read whenever and wherever I could. I devoured books.

    Today I have to drag my students through the curriculum. A short story that is more than 3 pages is "too long." And a novel is absolutely painful. I try to teach the most necessary skills in isolation and to reinforce them in their writing, but truly the students who develop into the best writers are those who read. It's the same with vocabulary development. Do I teach vocabulary in isolation? Yes. However, it's the kids who read on their own who truly have a diverse vocabulary and are most comfortable assimilating new words.

    I think we'd be doing a huge service to students and the community at large if we got rid of all this standardized testing in elementary schools and just focused on reading, reading anything and everything, so that students learn to enjoy reading. There's plenty of time for tests later.


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  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frizzle View Post
    And whatever happened to the phrase "to be"? I hear it being dropped left, right, and sideways nowadays. In fact, I recently heard a radio commercial saying something like, "if your car battery needs replaced..." and practically crashed the car from screaming, "if your car battery needs TO BE replaced!!!"

    Blargh!!!
    Frizzle - I clicked on this thread with the sole intention of asking if anyone else had noticed this trend!!! "The lawn needs mowed, my hair needs cut and the horse needs fed." ARG!!! I have one friend who drops her to-be's all the time, and it makes me twitch each time I hear it. I thought it was just her own quirk, but then started hearing it elsewhere as well. Now that I'm listening for it...


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  5. #45
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    Our schools are certainly still teaching correct grammar.

    I think that a big part of the problem is that people, in general, aren't reading quality writing in the quantities they used to. I've always thought that one of the best ways to learn to write, spell and acquire a good working vocabulary was to read a wide variety of things. After many, many, many hours of reading, you start to really acquire an instinct for how to string words together in a meaningful, and readable, way. Plus, when you read your own writing back to yourself, you'll know, from experience, whether it sounds "right" or not.

    Back when I was young, nearly everything available to read (books, magazines, newspapers), had gone through an editor. That was the only way writing could make it to print to gain an audience. Not all of it was good, of course, but the vast majority was at least in the ballpark of standard written English.

    Now, all kinds of people, many of whom do not write well at all, are self publishing on the Internet. So much writing isn't edited by anyone, but it can still reach a very wide audience.


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  6. #46
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    Here's a site that can help all the teachers out there: grmr.me



  7. #47
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    Another along the veins of "whoa vs woah" is "Oops."

    I see "opps" all the time, mostly on this very forum. I don't get it, or maybe I missed something somewhere that made the O long without an umlaut and the 'p' silent in the beginning.

    I was also (still am) one of the ones that read everything I could. In high school I went through a Stephen King phase and read all of his books.
    Friend of bar.ka!
    Quote Originally Posted by MHM View Post
    GM quote of the day, regarding the correct way to do things:
    "There's correct, and then there's correct. If you're almost correct, that means you're wrong."



  8. #48
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    Beentheredonethat, can you elaborate on your system of teaching grammar? I teach adults in a professional setting and I wonder if it could be scaled up. I agree diagramming sentences is not helpful, but I learned grammar and spelling more by osmosis--I read a lot. We have staff members who sometimes request help with "business writing" skills and I don't know where to start. I do remember being DRILLED on correct punctuation my senior year of high school, in an expository writing class, and how appalled we all were (the "smart" kids anyway) that we had been allowed to go through high school not learning about things like comma splices.

    I wonder what the most recent trend of online self-publishing will do for grammar; I can't believe it will be good. A lot of the mainstream fiction lately has started as self-published, and it's full of errors. We try not to buy the worst of it (I work for a public library) and we don't generally put self-published items in the collection, but the line is becoming rather blurred and things like Zane or 50 Shades need to be in there to meet customer demand.

    Someone brought in a book published by a "Good to Go Press" (vanity press, anyone?) and just reading the book jacket made my IQ drop about 20 points. Scary!

    I compare writing to a competitive sport--if you want to be good, you need to know the rules and you need to practice.
    The hooves of the horses! Oh witching and sweet is the music earth steals from the iron-shod feet. Will Ogilvie


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  9. #49
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    Regalace - did you check out www.grmr.me?
    Last edited by BLBGP; Feb. 17, 2014 at 04:59 PM.



  10. #50
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    Teachers can teach until they're blue in the face, but if parents don't reinforce it at home, the kids won't improve.

    It's also easy to point the finger and say, "these young people just don't want to learn, why in MY day....." spiraling into a tale of old and how much better things used to be. I work in health care, so I see a LOT of paperwork from all age groups. Older generations are just as bad with their grammar and spelling as younger generations.
    Newbie event rider dreaming of rocking BN with my young OTTB!

    Adventures with my Baby TB Blog


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  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by skipollo View Post
    Teachers can teach until they're blue in the face, but if parents don't reinforce it at home, the kids won't improve.

    It's also easy to point the finger and say, "these young people just don't want to learn, why in MY day....." spiraling into a tale of old and how much better things used to be. I work in health care, so I see a LOT of paperwork from all age groups. Older generations are just as bad with their grammar and spelling as younger generations.
    But they didn't get any excuses. Do the work or get paddled...
    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
    Try setting your broomstick to fly at a lower altitude.



  12. #52
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    Just doing that now--I'm at work and multi-tasking, wonder how many errors can be attributed to that!

    I was just in a meeting this morning, discussing outreach to community organizations that help people with job skills. One of the big issues is that people have to learn to do things like use a computer or complete online applications--and they cannot read well enough to understand a tutorial. Scary!
    The hooves of the horses! Oh witching and sweet is the music earth steals from the iron-shod feet. Will Ogilvie



  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by regalace View Post
    Beentheredonethat, can you elaborate on your system of teaching grammar? I teach adults in a professional setting and I wonder if it could be scaled up. I agree diagramming sentences is not helpful, but I learned grammar and spelling more by osmosis--I read a lot. We have staff members who sometimes request help with "business writing" skills and I don't know where to start. I do remember being DRILLED on correct punctuation my senior year of high school, in an expository writing class, and how appalled we all were (the "smart" kids anyway) that we had been allowed to go through high school not learning about things like comma splices.

    I wonder what the most recent trend of online self-publishing will do for grammar; I can't believe it will be good. A lot of the mainstream fiction lately has started as self-published, and it's full of errors. We try not to buy the worst of it (I work for a public library) and we don't generally put self-published items in the collection, but the line is becoming rather blurred and things like Zane or 50 Shades need to be in there to meet customer demand.

    Someone brought in a book published by a "Good to Go Press" (vanity press, anyone?) and just reading the book jacket made my IQ drop about 20 points. Scary!

    I compare writing to a competitive sport--if you want to be good, you need to know the rules and you need to practice.
    I developed the program because everything I was given didn't work. It's closest to DOL (Daily Oral Language) but that is sort of random corrections every day. I use it as a warm up every day and spend a week on each topic (nouns, verbs, clauses, commas, tense agreement, etc.) I tend to just go straight through, but as I see problems developing in writing, I can pick a certain week and focus on it.

    It would probably work for your adults, though may be a little easy. It's geared towards middle school, but could be simplified for elementary and bumped up a bit for high school.

    You got me thinking about another way I could go with this. Maybe besides this focus, I could create mini programs on request. So, for example, what would be an issue you would see with adults?

    It wouldn't be quite the same, but I could use a lot of the same techniques. I make little games, contests and puzzles as part of the program so they start to see how it all works.

    PM me and I'll send you the DropBox link of what I have that Bristol Bay uses. And let me know what would be useful for you to use. This might be a new career opportunity for me. I'm wondering if, besides a basic program, tailoring programs for specific needs might be a way to go.



  14. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Small Change View Post
    Frizzle - I clicked on this thread with the sole intention of asking if anyone else had noticed this trend!!! "The lawn needs mowed, my hair needs cut and the horse needs fed." ARG!!! I have one friend who drops her to-be's all the time, and it makes me twitch each time I hear it. I thought it was just her own quirk, but then started hearing it elsewhere as well. Now that I'm listening for it...
    I swear it's an epidemic!!! Poor little rejected "to be"!
    Topline Leather -- Unique woven crystal & gemstone browbands

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  15. #55
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    These are from TV, where college graduates who use words for a living, ignore the most basic rules.

    Where are we at on that issue?
    She was, like, the president is due to arrive in, like, twenty-four hours.

    In writing, the worst mistakes seem to be their, they're, and there. Is it really so difficult to understand how to use these words?


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  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dewey View Post
    "This day in age," and even "taken for granite."
    Did you know that in 1945 Mt. Rushmore was taken for granite?
    "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"


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  17. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by regalace View Post
    Just doing that now--I'm at work and multi-tasking, wonder how many errors can be attributed to that!

    I was just in a meeting this morning, discussing outreach to community organizations that help people with job skills. One of the big issues is that people have to learn to do things like use a computer or complete online applications--and they cannot read well enough to understand a tutorial. Scary!
    Our university has just adopted "Excellence in Writing" as one of our new QEP initiatives--at the first meeting, the committee (headed by my dept. chair) talked about how nothing can change for the better until students' reading skills (and willingness to read things longer than 2-3 pp.) improve.
    I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne



  18. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trakehner View Post
    Did you know that in 1945 Mt. Rushmore was taken for granite?
    I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne



  19. #59
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    Regalace, whatever program you adopt, my advice is to teach grammar and punctuation in context. In other words, use the students' own writing for the examples. Worksheets don't do it, IMO!

    For the punctuation chart I developed, for example, I explain it to the students and then have them write the sentences to exemplify the sentence patterns with various types of punctuation. We practice it multiple times. I advise them to keep the chart handy when they write.
    I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne



  20. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvp View Post
    I really learned grammar when I studied French and German. I'm not sure I knew the name of verb tenses until I left my native language.
    I now take it for granted (granite! ) that *most* of my college level students need a crash course in English grammar before I even start teaching them French grammar.
    I used to be baffled by their lack of understanding of structures that are exactly the same in both languages, until I realized how bad their English grammar was!
    Now, they always ask me for more grammar courses. Probably because it helps them succeed in their other courses!
    (and now I am sure that I made mistakes in this post - to my discharge - English is not my native language, and not even the first foreign language I learned...)
    Ottbs - The finish line is only the beginning!



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