Grammar Lab is the first class in a copyediting certificate program. It is awesome!
Isn’t it odd how I never had a dedicated grammar lesson in English going through school? French, yes; English, no. Fortunately, I have developed a good ear for knowing what was right. I’m learning, though, that that ear is far from perfect.
We abuse our language day. The Wire taught me that buildings are evacuated, not people. Well, people can be evacuated, but that is a very different activity!
This class has done what I thought was impossible: I now have the lay/lie difference down pat! Okay, I guess I could have looked it up, but without having to use it with a grade on the line, I don’t know that it would have stuck. I do know that I consistently butchered those poor innocent verbs. Before this class, I never would have said, “I have lain in bed all day”, and I would have sworn up and down that that was wrong!
Also now down pat in my head: who versus whom. I knew that “who” was a subject and “whom” an object, but I couldn’t always tell how it was being used in the sentence to figure out which one was needed. Now as I look at words on the page, my brain tells me what their purpose is within the sentence. This amazes me because when I first started the class, it hurt my brain that the same word could be so many different parts of speech. Context matters. I wanted firmer rules than that. I did some tough love with myself over that. Much as I did about my French class, I told myself to either quit or get my head in the game and actually learn. And learn I have!
All of this newly found language knowledge has had some unexpected side effects. I correct poor grammar that I hear on television. How can so many basic verb errors make it to the small screen?!?!? Note: I do not correct DH2U. It has never even crossed my mind. Even my weird brain can see how annoying that would be.
I know most people probably think I’m pretty sick and twisted to be this excited about learning my own language. The best part is that I really don’t care, because this is so much fun for me. I’ve jumped in with both feet and have signed up for the next class in the series. Look at all the fun books I’ll be using for my first course in copyediting:
What are you passionate about that makes people shake their heads? or Have you ever used the participle “lain” in a sentence?