by, June 29th, 2010 at 07:57 AM (450 Views)
Is diagramming sentences still done in English classes these days? I hated those sessions. Tedious! Noun or pronoun goes here, verb goes there, adverbs and adjectives ... and I wanted to get on to the fun stuff: reading and, more important, writing.
But more decades than I care to count later, I realize how lucky I was to have that experience. I learned from it. How much I learned from it was made clear to me a while back when I taught a writing class for adults, and made reference to "adjectives." One of the students in all seriousness asked, "What's an adjective?"
Huh? You don't know that stuff?
How can you break the rules if you don't know what the rules are? I break the rules constantly when I write. My literary landscape is peppered with incomplete sentences, dangling participles, nouns and verbs implied. Few adverbs, fewer adjectives.
But I do it deliberately. For effect. And I know what rules I'm violating. Which isn't to imply that you have to know the rules before you break them - but it makes the process more fun.