By Sarah-Ann Binning

If you had told me my freshman year of college that I would end up writing a grammar blog I would have laughed in your face. Seriously. We’re talking hardcore, rolling-on-the floor laughing in your face.

I hated grammar. I was a writer and a journalist and yes, I understood it was important to speak and write properly, but grammar was my kryptonite. School and studying came naturally to me, grammar did not. I blamed the school system for my hatred of proper English.  You see, I grew up in an era where teachers were told grammar was less important than phonics. Schools focused on teaching my peers and me how to sound out words. Worksheet after worksheet we slaved away filling in vowel sounds. “Is this a long ‘a’ sound?” I would ask myself.  Looking back at my phonics years I can not help but thinking how incredibly stupid those lessons were. I never learned to read phonetically and it sure as hell didn’t help my spelling skills.

By the time I entered high school, the school system realized how incredibly, well for lack of a better term, naïve it had been. Turns out, grammar was important. My freshman and sophomore English teacher tried so hard to teach us parts of speech and how to diagram sentences. But they quickly lost faith in us and I lost faith in myself.  I knew how to write and how to grab my reader’s attention but I figured my editor would take care of the nitty-gritty grammar mumbo jumbo.

So there I was, a freshman at Ohio University, enrolled in the mandatory class: PRECISION LANGUAGE. The class was grammar boot camp: eleven weeks of intensive lessons with a drill sergeant of a professor.  But somewhere between watching Professor Cambridge write “I wish I were a pony” on the blackboard, a light bulb clicked. Suddenly I was interested. I understood the difference between “who” and “whom.” I was fascinated that there were three categories of verbals (FYI: infinitive, gerund and participle).

When exactly I became Ms. Grammar, I’m not quite sure. The transition was slow and progressive, I’m sure. But about a year ago, I realized I LOVED grammar. I enjoyed when my sister would call me and say, “I just read this sentence in a book. It doesn’t sound right. Is (fill in the blank) grammatically correct?”

While I enjoy learning more about grammar, there’s just one problem: school websites and books are dull and boring. Frankly, they’re giving grammar a bad public image. No wonder we hated studying it in grade school. My objective for this blog is write comical, enjoyable yet understandable and beneficial lessons on the English language.

Hope you enjoy my adventures into an investigated examination of grammar.  Feel free to post any of your own grammar questions you’d like to see answered.

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