Thursday, April 16, 2009

Drunk and Fight

Last week in my precalculus class, two students were thumbing through a thin book whose cover me recognized. You see, back in high school myself bought I the same exact book! The book was titled "Strunk and White: The Elements of Style." At the encouragement of my then AP English teacher, the book was purchased by myself, and was to serve as the grammatical bible for all of my future writing and speaking endeavors. I thought it strange to see it reemerging in the hands of a student after all these years, for I have not heard any students nor teachers speak of it during the 10 years I've been teaching high school. In fact, during that time, the language and grammar has actually deteriorated with the advent of email, texting, blogging (myself excluded), and twitting. So to see that the same students who have to follow the precise rules of mathematics were interested in learning the ancient, proper rules of grammar, I was ecstatic.

The writers, Strunk and White, teach us that we should not separate a noun from its restrictive term of identification. We are also not supposed to use a colon after a preposition or dependent clause to list things, and other misuses like: separating independent clauses with a comma. Unless it's necessary, using a dash limitedly--(and not to adverbialize adjectives) like only when--and not arbitrarily--when another puncuation mark--unless for poetic purposes--will not do, and each time you uses the word "each," you should follow with the singular verb.

One of the most egregious misuses is of the personal pronoun, which myself is very guilty of using. Unless yourself have already referred to you in a sentence, the reflexive pronoun, as well as the passive voice, should not be used--that is. (Unless you're trying to spread the culpability very thin, as in: the vase was broken by myself.) By the way; periods should go outside the parenthesis only if, the clause in the parenthesis is an independent one (otherwise--if it is a dependent clause-- it should go on the inside).

When placed at the beginning of the sentence, a participle phrase must refer to the grammatical subject it refers to. And we all know about ending a sentence with a preposition--it's not not supposed to! As Winston, the man, Churchill once quipped: "Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put!"

churhill didn't mind absences of commas or captial letters, though

There are also rules of composition that help yourself write good. Statements should be NOT phrased in the negation of the opposite, but rather in the positive, nor should infinitives be, unless absolutely for only poetic "liscence", split. When putting together a string of words to describe a feeling, one should not refer to a description of the thing that one is wanted to try to say in a way that is not too long or wordy or redundant or wordy or too long, but instead one should be brief and concise. For example, saying that my best friend is someone that I do not have much confidence in, I should say that I, myself, "distrust" him, but sometimes I think that advise like that, when in the middle of a sentence, is something that I do not have much confidence in.

Another great tip is to not write like, umm, you know, as if, well, quite straightly, as if you were speaking, you know? Owing to the fact that writing is like more "formal" than speaking. L o o s e s e n t e n c e s s h o u l d a l w a y s b e v e h e m e n t l y a v o i d e d -- u n l e s s y o u r t e a c h e r r e q u i r e s y o u r p a p e r t o b e " d o u b l e s p a c e d " . We should always keep and maintain with a pen related words in a sentence together when writing, unless the sentence has a related word about someone in your family you despise for putting that stain in your rug right in the center.

When summarizing a work, Strunk and White suggested that use always use the present tense, and when summarizing in general, use one tense, which is what I'm doing here. Because these authors are so preeminent, we believe their every suggestion like: they suggests putting emphatic words or word phrases at the end of a sentence. We have hardly advanced--though--in eloquency of language since they have written the book; although, we have advanced in many other ways. Like we have refrained form mispellings, and separating only two things listed with commas. Additionally! We have lost our enthusiasm for emphasizing simple statements by adding an exclamation mark at the end! In fact, ourselves have advanced to unnecessarily adding too many (which is so appropriate when we split an infinitive)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On page thirty five of the book they say "don't spell out numbers, unless they occur in dialogue." My wife said, "I learned that in 3rd grade!!!!!" The authors also express there irriatition with the misuse of words! Me to, although some might thing its alright. Between you, me, and the fly on the wall, me totally disagree with they're rule about "'between' involves only too subjects, while 'among' involves more than two." As to whether to use "as to whether" or just "whether," using "whether" is sufficient, enough, and adequate. Also, the use of and/or apparently either damages the sentence and/or leaves it totally ambiguous. And anybody who starts a sentence with and or doesn't use "any one" in lieu of "anybody" is a grammatical fool!!!!!!

When it comes to "lay" and "lie," not even Strunk and White really know the difference, only to say that "chickens lay, cheaters lie and politicians do both."

And did you realize that "enthused" is not a word? But merely a "made up" word by lazy, enthusiasitic people??!!..)) I have a mixed time relating to these guys (even though they say that myself should rather say that we have alot (a lot) in common, yet differ in respectable ways), even though I have a difficult, challenging time letting all these rules of un-/non-/ anti-?? superfluency to be utilized (used?) Although it's concise, I cannot (or is it can not, or can't) seam to absorb all of it's consice wisdom. In fact, like my golf swing: the moar I no, the moore I 4get.

Despite both being dead, the language continues to be shaped by new additions of both (Strunk and White)'s famous book. But, don't look for the Twitter version to, although very palpable, be on BSS (Book Shelfs Sune).


Freckles said...

Thanks for the entertaining post :) It was both fun and frustrating to read!

LC said...

A great post!! No blog edits today. Have a great weekend.