Monday, January 22, 2007

The textbook definitions

I know that I should both understand and be able to explain how and why a sentence has correct or incorrect grammar. However, it's really always been a problem (as I think it has been for a number of people who have gone through the public school system - not to make excuses) for me to be able to label a "compound sentence" or any other grammatical sentence part for what it is and be able to explain the rights and wrongs. I've taken a Modern English Grammar and Technical Writing here at UHM and I still can't really pick out most of the technical things by name, but I've always been able to tell when something just sounds "off." I just wanted to ask how important it is for a copyeditor to be able to pick out things that aren't grammatical by name? I am planning on learning to be able to pick them out, but if it's a long process, will this hinder my progress if I can't tell an author exactly why I choose to change something grammatically?


Pat said...

Public-school graduate? So am I (McKinley), and so is the head of the journal I work for. And so is my good friend Michael LaGory (Campbell), who teaches English at Iolani and is the author of the Keables grammar guide. I call Michael the grammar king :)

The amount of grammar that we will cover in the class is a fraction of what there is to know about the subject. We will be approaching it in a utilitarian way: what are the most common grammatical errors we will come across as copyeditors? what grammatical concepts will we need to know in order to explain our work to our peers, bosses, and authors?

Knowing the correct terms is crucial to your success, but don't worry; we will go slowly, and the textbook's explanations and exercises (see chapters 5 through 9) are good.

Pat said...

From Moon Yun:

As a journalist, I am embarressed to say that I too can't pick out all the technical grammar things by name. I go mostly by sound. I'd like to change this and learn more about correct grammar usage.