I hate grammar

GrammarOMG did I just write that headline? It’s a terrible thing for a writer to admit.

So many writers and editors live to catch typos and bad grammar, but that’s always seemed like vigilantism to me. I end up feeling sorry for the poor writer who might be embarrassed by the error. One of the best grammarians I know recently used the wrong principle/principal in a document and I know it was unintentional.

Then again, I still smile when editor friends post pictures of street signs with missing apostrophes or menus with typos.

I am decent at grammar, but almost unnaturally so because I was of the generation (sounds like we are up to a few generations now) that didn’t really cover the topic very well in grade school or high school.

As a result, my understanding of French grammar is much better because I learned it as a language. I can recite verb conjugations, am very familiar with the Bescherelle and what verbs would be irregular, and can even identify some of the genders of nouns (although that is the first to go when you get out of practice).

But when I began to teach grammar is when I really had to boost my skills: I was terrified of explaining it to my students. I would watch tons of videos on YouTube by English teachers (there’s some helpful stuff out there) and practice practice practice myself.

Did you notice how I spelled practice as a noun there? I really should have made it a verb. That’s the kind of fussy grammar rule I force myself to internalize and pay attention to as an editor. But I can never be forced to enjoy it.

There, I said it.