Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Grammar and Usage and Stuff Part IV: Diagramming Sentences

Someone asked a few days ago if I was going to blog about diagramming sentences.

Well, in Word Court, Barbara Wallraff quotes a number of linguists who believe that diagramming sentences won't improve anyone's writing or speaking ability. I suppose this means that:

1) Those people who learned to diagram sentences were wasting their time;

2) Those people who learned to diagram sentences and think the world is a sadder place because young people aren't learning to do it are continuing to waste their time;

3) Those of us who were supposed to learn to diagram sentences, didn't, and feel inferior about it are wasting our time.

Really, Word Court is quite a marvelous book. I have finished the section on grammar and am now reading the section on usage. I am amazed--stunned--by the things I didn't know and have been doing wrong all these years. Who knew there was a rule regarding the use of "due to" versus "owing to?" When the amazement passes, I'll probably begin to feel inferior again. (See Item 3 above.) In the meantime, I'm really enjoying the amazement.

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