Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Grammar Rules That Apply to Real Life

If you read the posts from my #AskAwayFriday partners, you'll know one of my favorite questions has been to ask about unfinished drafts. "What's the oldest draft in your unfinished folder and why haven't you finished it?"  So far I know of three people who have finished a draft after being asked about it. Last week the question got turned around on me and I admitted that one of my oldest drafts is one that has been there for quite a while. 

It was an idea that originally came to me one morning between dreamland and the shower.  It sounded like a great idea and I had great direction I was going to go with it. Then I went to write things down, got distracted, and couldn't write fast enough. The idea was lost. And for a while, my kids and husband wanted to know why our shower wall said "grammar." Did I mention that I tried to use a tub crayon to capture this idea?

Yesterday I went to a training session about business writing and proofreading and pieces of it started to come back to me, so I've decided to get it finished.

"When will we ever use this in real life?"  A teacher's most beloved hated question.  I even heard it a  few times when I was teaching second grade. There are a few things we learn in school that we won't use after, but many of the lessons we are taught are part of the foundation for later education.  I've also noticed that there are times when I am trying to learn about one thing and instead I find myself learning about something completely different, but tangentially related.

Back to my business writing class. My original thought had been about the similarity between grammar rules and life rules.  Here are just a few that made me think:

In writing, it is preferable to use the active voice.
For example: The boy kicked the ball.
Not: The ball was kicked by the boy.
In life, if is recommended to take an active role in things instead of passively letting life pass you by.

In writing, subjects and verbs should agree.
For example: The class is ready to learn.
Not: The class are ready to learn.
In life, it is good to seek agreement with other people.

In writing, it is wise to avoid long sentences.
For example: A birthday party has four main components: friends, cake, presents, and fun.
Not: When planning a birthday party you should contact as many friends and family members as possible and ask them to bring gifts for the birthday person, which will be opened after the cake and ice cream have been served.
In life, it is a good idea to not ramble on for hours when you have nothing to say. It's also a good idea to keep tabs with your audience to make sure they care about what you are saying.

In writing, transitions help you to be understood.
For example: We had plans to go to the park. However, the rain kept us at home.
Not: We had plans to go to the park. The rain kept us at home.
In life, it is important to anticipate transitions from one task to another or one stage to another. It is especially important with children, who crave consistency and feel safest when they know what is coming next.

In writing, it is considered bad form to begin every sentence with the word "I."
For example: I think it is nice to think of others. Thinking of others is good for you. It gives you a perspective other than your own to think about.
Not: I'm not going to write a bunch of sentences that start with "I." I think you can think of some on your own.  I would hope that is not too taxing on your brain.
In life, talking solely about yourself win not win you any friends. People want to connect with others that care about them and want to hear from them. Life is not all about you!

In writing, do not begin every sentence with "but."
For example: I would love to try that idea out!
Not: But we've never done it that way before!
In life, it is a good idea to try some new things every once in a while. Step outside your box once in a while and see what happens.

In writing, it is good to keep things simple and use language that is understood by everyone.
For example: It's time to get off the iPad now.
Not: Please terminate your video game expediently!
In life, it is good to keep things simple. That Pinterest project is likely to stress you out. No one really lives in a decorating magazine. They just frame their pictures that way to fool you.

In writing, it is more important to be consistent than it is to be correct.
For example: When Frances owns something I say it is Frances'. 
Not: Sometimes things are Frances' and sometimes they are Frances's.
In life it is good to be consistent so that people know what they can expect from you. In parenting, it is important that your kids understand that no means no; or else they will forever bug you to change your mind (like you did last time). 
Are there any I've left out? A lesson you learned in one place that was applicable to another aspect of your life?

No comments :

Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by! I would love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a link so I can return the visit.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...