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The Art of Grammar

I never learned grammar, well, I never learned English grammar.

We grew up learning by what we heard. We learned that if words sounded correct, they probably were. We read books, and there were no mistakes in sentence structure. It was like picking up a guitar and playing it by ear, knowing none of the notes, but knowing how to play them nonetheless. We knew the order in which they were to be played in to sound a certain way.

I wasn’t too young when my family acquired Internet in the house. Of course, I can’t remember when it was installed. It seems like we’ve had it forever. But, strange enough, I also remember a time when there was no Internet in my house, and I didn’t crave it. For school projects, I remember using the computers at school or the library to type and to print. Sometimes to browse when I had the time to do so. But mostly, for projects and such, though tedious and very tiring, I stuck with various books and encyclopedias.

When the Internet came in, I think I un-learned whatever little grammar I actually knew. I didn’t need it because Microsoft Word did everything for me. At that point, everything sounded right, especially when no one on social media cared if you capitalized the first letter of your sentences or not. And later, when I was required to do the ACTs for college applications, I struggled with grammar. English grammar was not my worst portion of the ACTs (that was science). But even so, I never knew what was right in that section. I constantly wanted to say it aloud to see if it sounded right, only to say it too many times to the point where it lost its meaning.

I’ve attended four elementary schools in my life, and none of the schools I’ve been to emphasized grammar. I took Spanish for four years, and Arabic for about two, and also struggled with those because I never understood what grammar was beside the basics (nouns, verbs, and adjectives). Learning the order in which words belonged in, in other languages, and what tenses they were supposed to be in, was difficult because of my lack of knowledge in the languages I grew up speaking, English and Urdu.

Because of grammar, I hate editing papers; others’ and my own. American schools, not saying all of them are lacking in grammar lessons, but they do not understand the struggle they put us in years later. I think grammar should be a thing, especially because I edit students’ papers who don’t understand the location of the comma, which in my book, is the worst grammar mistake a person can make, next to unparalleled verbs and different tenses.

But maybe, even if schools did teach it, I wouldn’t have learned anyway. They taught spelling in every year I went to school, up until middle school, and I still have no idea how to spell Teusday….I mean Tuesday. 

Hello! My name's Syeda Dayemi and I graduated UIC (majored in Biology). :)
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