We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.
Several months ago, I announced that as part of a company putting together webinar classes for writers I would be conducting a course on grammar. A number of readers of this blog expressed an interest in taking the course.
As this cartoon shows, there really is a need for understanding proper use of grammar. I know, you got bored around the fourth grade when you kept hearing the same rules over and over, and you tuned the teacher out.
Your classmates didn’t pay much attention to the subject, so why should you? But now that you’re a writer, you really need to be able to communicate with some intelligence with your readers.
Back to the online course—along the way, the lady putting the company together decided she didn’t want me to be a part of it, so the idea ground to a halt. Without the kind of training and support that was to be offered by that company, I don’t have a clue how to conduct a webinar, nor do I have a big market of potential students.
The original plan was for me to teach a couple of other courses as well, but they were not courses I had any unique experience to teach, so I don’t think anyone lost anything by my not doing those. Grammar, however, is a subject of great importance to writers, yet it is one in which few seem to have much expertise, maybe because English is such a ridiculous language, as George Carlin demonstrated:
We’ll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes;
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese;
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.
If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn’t the plural of pan be called pen ?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet ?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn’t the plural of booth be called beeth ?
Then one may be that, & three would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose;
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother & also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his & him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis & shim !
Let’s face it – English is a crazy language.
There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger;
Neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren’t invented in England .
We take English for granted,
But if we explore its paradoxes,
We find that quicksand can work slowly,
Boxing rings are square;
A guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
Why is it that writers write, but fingers don’t fing?
Grocers don’t groce & hammers don’t ham ?
Doesn’t it seem crazy that …
You can make amends but not one amend ?
If you have a bunch of odds and ends …
And get rid of all but one of them,
What do you call it ?
If teachers taught, why haven’t preachers praught ?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables,
What does a humanitarian eat ?
Sometimes I think all people who speak English
Should be in an asylum for the verbally insane.
In what other language do people recite at a play,
And play at a recital ?
We ship by truck but send cargo by ship ….
We have noses that run & feet that smell;
We park in a driveway & drive in a parkway.
And how can a slim chance & a fat chance be the same,
While a wise man & a wise guy are opposites ?
You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language
In which your house can burn up as it burns down;
In which you fill in a form by filling it out,
& in which an alarm goes off by going on.
And in closing ….
If Father is Pop …..
How come Mother’s not Mop ? ? ? ?
Since I do see a need and have a modicum of expertise in this area, I have decided to put together a series of blogs on the subject. I know, grammar’s not the most exciting subject in the world—but it’s one that’s important to all of us if we are to communicate. Before, you would have had to pay $60 to $100 for the course. Now, it will be free. And you are free to copy and save any of the material you want for your own writing needs. All I ask is that you not use these blogs to put together your own grammar course and offer it to the public, either for free or for profit.
At the present time, I’m still working on the curriculum, but I’ll be beginning the series in the next week or so. Hope you’ll join me.
David N. Walker is a Christian father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years as a health insurance agent. Most of that career was spent in Texas, but for a few years he traveled many other states. He started writing about 20 years ago, and has six unpublished novels to use as primers on how NOT to write fiction. He is currently putting the finishing touches on his non-fiction Heaven Sent: 67 Stories of Godly Thoughts and Inspiration and starting his new fiction work—a series of novellas set during the period from 1860 to 1880.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me at @davidnwalkertx