Saturday, August 25, 2012

Grammar Issues

Grammar is something that I have struggled with in my writing often and if not for spell check it would have become apparent to my teachers far sooner. I never received a formal education on grammar despite having a strong vocabulary, good diction, ability to express myself, and create well-written work. Despite this I know how critical it is that I improve on my grammar for the professional world because of how little room there is for error. My ability to use grammar correctly could make or break my job. There are a number of aspects of grammar I would like to improve on. One of the first things I would like to work on grammatically is my use of semi-colons. I have never been sure when or where they are supposed to be used in a sentence, often I assumed they could be used at the beginning of a list much like a colon. An example would be as follows. Dan sat at the kitchen counter and spied a note his mother had written for him. “Dan please pick up some groceries today while your father and I are out. Please grab; milk, eggs, butter and pepper. Love mom.” I am aware that semicolons are used in a similar way but I am not sure what exactly.

            Secondly I need to work on participles, primarily understanding what they are (by their definition) and then how to use them correctly. As I said earlier I never received a formal education on grammar when I was younger so many of the terms and vocabulary are unfamiliar to me. The best example of what I mean is the nineteenth question on the “Convections and Income” sheet that we did on the first day of class. “Spiraling in the Andromeda Galaxy, Dr. Vilhelm insists that there is alien life on the Andromeda planet called Lanulos.” In this situation by the grammatical set up it is Dr. Vilhelm, not the planet Lanulos, that is spiraling through the Andromeda Galaxy even though it should be the other way around. It is small changes like this that, at first glance seem correct, will get me in trouble at work.

            Thirdly and finally I need to work on comma splicing in my writing as a whole. I have the habit of extending a sentence further than it should or needs to go by adding additional commas. By extension this means I need to work on understanding sentence requirements. An example could be “Pullman is a small town in rural eastern Washington, in the heart of it is Washington State University whose students attendance during the year doubles the population of the town.” These sorts of grammatical errors will affect me in the professional world but hopefully with enough practice that can be changed. These are not the only grammatical issues I need to work on, but I hope that by starting with these the rest will be improved as the course progresses through the semester.


  1. good blog, David. Your examples do prove your point (kinda a good thing/bad thing, no?). Not to worry: this course should help you get on even firmer footing.

    Pattern of the week?

    1. I used the pattern in the beginning, how often were we supposed to use it? I was a little unclear on that point