Thursday, January 20, 2011


Grammar is cool.


And here is why.

       1.      Grammar is generative. It’s the sort of puzzle you can always dig your hands into, like an endless bowl of pudding.

       2.      Grammar is flexible. The way we use language is always changing and we are the ones who change it. I understand why people argue that grammar is boring because it’s merely describing what we’re already capable of doing. But think of physics: the physical laws of our world don’t change and physics is just there to describe them. On the other hand, grammar rolls with the ever-changing punches of language.

       3.      Grammar is full of rabbit trails. I know it hurts your brain if you think about them too long, but they are damn intriguing.

       4.      Grammar is organized. You know how you like having your desk nicely organized and all your pens and notebooks in the right places? It’s kind of like that.

       5.      Grammar makes sense. Seriously. It’s like a code you have to break, but once you know that it’s just Navajo, you’re golden.

       6.      Grammar is an underdog: everyone hates grammar so it has a lot of ground to make up before people can call it “cool.”

All that to say, I taught a 90-minute lesson on English grammar this week (mostly talking about dependent clauses and how to differentiate between noun, relative, related speech, and adverbial clauses), and I couldn’t stop smiling. I was somehow in my element. So, as Madame Defarge might say, “Then tell Wind and Fire where to stop, but don’t tell me!”

Alhambra in the background. A Grammar nut and her novio in the foreground. 

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