I Know It When I See It?

Posted on 15/08/2012 by


I never came across formal grammar in school until I started learning a foreign language. And then it was like ‘these are verbs, these are adjectives, and this is the wacky way they use them in French’. I was never taught English grammar in school. Of course, that doesn’t mean they don’t teach it. My education was a bit wack-a-mole due to the number of schools I went to.

Arkem: I was certainly never taught about the Oxford comma.
Me: That’s because nobody agrees about it so they can’t teach it in school. Like religion.

I know a lot more of the associated vocabulary now and can cheerfully say, “Oh look, a dangling participle” but most of the time it’s more instinctive. At the level of, Well that sounds right and that sounds idiotic. Which is singularly unhelpful if someone asks you to explain.

This could also be because I seem to be missing the part of my brain that’s used for that type of explanation. You should see me flail about if someone asks me to define a word. I usually end up blithering and offering, I can use it in a sentence? I am in awe of the way dictionary writers can compress meaning down so succinctly, especially when they’re not just communicating literal meaning but also the connotative freight attached to a word.

All of which is to say, I have no idea how Spanish grammar works but today I learned how to pronounce “Teotihuacán”.


Posted in: Kandace