What’s grammar got to do with it?

Have I mentioned that I read a wide variety of blogs, keeping up with them via RSS feeds? I’m really glad that this blog post on about.com, called “What Works in Teaching Grammar,” didn’t get skimmed or skipped over, as many do, because I started reading a grammar textbook for fun. I think I’ve written about that crazy habit I seem to be developing, so I won’t digress.

This blog post recommended Constance Weaver’s Grammar to Enrich & Enhance Writing (Heinemann, 1996) as the textbook to use to teach grammar. It summarized the 12 principles behind this new way of teaching grammar in the context of the writing process itself. I immediately wondered whether I, as a technical editor, could use these teaching techniques to improve my own technical editing skills and also teach the writers that I support about grammar. I bought the book, and within the first chapter, I was confident that would be the case.

The contents presents the chapters in three parts:

  1. Teaching Grammar for Writing: Principles to Practice (My notes from this part.)
  2. Teaching Grammar to Enrich and Enhance Writing (My notes from this part.)
  3. Teaching Grammar to Enhance Writing: Focus on Editing (My notes from this part.)

Unfortunately, the body of the book does not include these part separations of the chapters. It would have been nice to have the part containers with a small introduction of why the chapters in that part fit together. The transition from the last chapter in one part to the first chapter in the next part is quite jarring. Except for a bit of repetition in Weaver’s overall writing style, this is my only issue with the book thus far.

I plan to write blog posts for each part of this grammar textbook. I will highlight the ideas and theories that resonate with me, a professional technical editor. I imagine these notes will be of most interest to me, but read along if you like. I’m sure that they will inspire me to write other blog posts based on what is in this grammar textbook.

Happy editing everyone!

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