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.