Monday, October 23, 2006

There Is a (Grammar) God

Good news for editors everywhere--grammar is officially back in style at high schools. According to the Washington Post, teaching grammar had fall out of favor in the 1970s. This is news to the Editrix, who in the late 1970s and early 1980s learned all about grammar, including how to diagram sentences, in public school in Kentucky. That fact may seem astonishing to many, seeing as Kentucky's schools have not exactly set the country on fire with their educational prowess. When I was in school, Kentucky's schools ranked in the bottom five or ten states in the country. And I'm not sure much has changed--Kentucky currently can claim the highest percentage of rural adults without a high school diploma, along with the highest percentage of rural students who qualify for federally subsidized lunch. Granted, I grew up in one of the alleged cities (pop. approx. 30,000 at the time), so my schooling may not have been quite as lacking as the more rural parts of the state. I did, after all, learn quite a bit about grammar! Thank you Miss Jones, Mrs. Riley, Mrs. Matthews, and Mrs. Curnutte.

Yet, the Editrix realizes that there are still hordes of writers out there without much of a clue regarding the use of commas, semicolons, and indeed, the need to use entire words, rather than IM abbreviations. For the record, the Editrix adores IM, but tends to use whole words and corrects her spelling before hitting enter. One of the nice things about working in b2b publishing is that most professionals do know the basics of sentence construction, though certainly not the intricacies of parallel structure and similar means to make writing sing rather than plod.

The Editrix highly recommends Eats, Shoots, and Leaves, by the wonderful curmudgeon Lynne Truss, for those interested in an entertaining venture into the world of grammar. If she could pull it off, the Editrix would require all her authors to read that book plus the inimitable Elements of Style by Strunk & White. Sadly, since she can rarely offer actual money to her authors, the Editrix thinks the chance of that happening falls somewhere between nil and no way.

The Editrix owns both the fourth edition and the illustrated version. The Editrix admits that she often fails to live by the most important precept of Strunk & White: Omit needless words.

1 comment:

Angry Gay Mike said...

I am intEEmodated by yor post... ;-)

I have seen the Editrix in action, she is scary and not to be triffled with...