It has come to my attention that, somewhere and somehow, a lot of people never quite made it through lessons on nouns, verbs, adjectives, and all those other formal names for the words that make up a sentence. I feel that I have expressed sufficient concern for abused commas, neglected semicolons, and often confused words. Now I feel it necessary to move on to grammar specifically for writers.
Whether it is reflective of a gap in education (which happened to me) or a gap in memory (which happens to many others), sentences should have certain “parts” in order for them to work properly and it’s surprising how many times I’m asked to remind someone what a verb is or the difference between an adjective and an adverb. I firmly believe that all writers should have an elementary understanding of sentence structure – writing sentences is your profession, understanding them is your prerogative.
I missed out on the whole nouns and verbs thing in school – and no one noticed until I got to my final year of high school and my Italian teacher was carrying on about “irregular verbs” and I went a bit cross-eyed. Three intensive grammar lessons later, I was armed with a new understanding of language. Wielding prepositions and pronouns, I felt ready to take on the world – or at least my Italian exam. Learning Italian was hugely beneficial to my understanding of the English language because I had to deconstruct sentences in order to effectively communicate my intended meaning. It was in that deconstruction that I came to appreciate not only the importance of sentence structure but the importance of really understanding the components of a sentence.
Don’t worry … this won’t hurt a bit …