Lifelong Mastery of Grammar

I could generalize and say “for most of us, our last formal training in grammar was during high-school and college…” But that would be cowardice. My goal here is to take risks by writing both personally and publicly about my experiences.

I studied grammar directly in elementary school; then indirectly as part of writing courses I took in high school and college; directly again as a student at the Sorbonne; and both directly and indirectly as part of my work as a technical writer.

Nothing taught me more about English than studying French grammar: Conjugations, reflexive verbs, the subjunctive, putting pronouns, verbs, and adjectives in accord with both the number and gender of the subject…the mechanics of language were laid bare.

This was a lot like the first time I repaired an air-cooled 1600 cc VW engine and realized that the liquid coolant, computer controlled ignition systems, and EFI are choices, not just descriptive facts. The comparison and contrast of two languages made grammar vividly real to me.

(This is a first, incomplete, draft. Part of my policy to publish now, revise later. I have plans to elaborate on the following:

  • Elementary school
  • Repetition of basics as the path to mastery — orchestral musicians practice their scales more than anyone else.
  • edX Grammar 101)