Remember learning the difference between subject and predicate? How about the proper way to fix a run-on sentence? Where to break up a word when using a hyphen?
I remember learning those things, and I remember teaching them, too. But not anymore. Grammar has gone the way of handwriting and spelling: no longer necessary to learn since spell-check, Grammarly, and similar computer programs can do the thinking for us.
For me, as the daughter of a high school English teacher, learning to use correct grammar was as much a part of my upbringing as learning to eat healthy food and floss my teeth.
Recently, an editor friend commented on the fact that I had correctly used a comma after the names of a city and state in the middle of a sentence. I used to teach that to 3rd graders. And yet, most people don’t know that particular comma rule. Sometimes I wonder whether grammar has become optional, especially when I read novels that choose to omit punctuation altogether.
As a 3rd-grade teacher, I always made sure to teach cursive handwriting, if for no other reason than to provide students with the ability to read primary sources. I also made sure to teach spelling, especially focusing on those words that were considered exceptions and didn’t follow the rules. And grammar was how we started each and every day—a quick warm-up to get us ready to speak and write using correct grammar.
With the students I tutor, I’ve started doing just that—a grammar warm-up. And I still use the same resource I used in the classroom. It’s tried and true, and I love it. My middle child, a 3rd grader, is getting her own copy, and she, too, will get a chance to “warm up” her brain each day so that she may speak and write using correct grammar. She is, after all, the daughter of a reading and writing teacher.