Essay about Grammar Should be Secondary for Composition Teachers

1281 Words 6 Pages
I have a knack for creating a series of run-on sentences and calling them an essay. I have a knack for beginning sentences with And or But. I also have a writing degree. I still have not mastered the use of the comma and somehow the Academy granted me that little piece of paper anyway. You, reader, may be wondering my point. My point is this: that despite my ill-formed paragraphs and run-on sentences I have existed and prospered within the formal writing environment. And so, I was elated to read Patrick Hartwell’s essay that contests that teaching grammar has a negligible effect on the development of a student writer (183).

Clearly, there are different types of grammar, which Hartwell distinguishes in his essay. Borrowing from Francis’
…show more content…
But knowing these monikers certainly does not change the quality of student writing. The ability to recognize the rule of subject-verb agreement does not create more insightful and intriguing arguments or story lines.

Other than spelling there should be less of a focus on the rules of writing, and more of a concentration on the production of writing. The only way to grow as a writer is to write. The “regularity” of grammar will come by way of recognition of how we speak, rather than how we write. One major goal of writing is to engage both the writer and reader in a topic- leading to a better or new understanding of a field of study or opinion. If we spend time working with the sequential element of grammar, we lose the scattered growth of writing craft. As Hartwell mentions, to remove formal grammar study creates a “rich and complex interaction of learner and environment that has little to so with sequences of skills instruction as such”(Hartwell 186).

Turning to grammar as the cornerstone of writing seems to negate the importance of content. If a thirsty man says “Water, I need” do we not recognize the exigency of his claim? If we do not allow for a vast amount of experimental room, we will only be creating grammatical mimics. Some theories of teaching grammar call for rote

Related Documents