Grammar in action, English Grammar PDF Book (1928) Jacob C..Tressler

Grammar in action, English Grammar PDF Book (1928)  Jacob C. Tressler with Illustrations

Grammar in action

When the pendulum swung away from the teaching of formal grammar, there was a danger that it would pass far beyond sensible motivated teaching of functional or applied grammar to a denunciation of all grammar except usage drills. Now the pendulum is oscillating about the middle point, a mastery of the simple fundamentals of functional grammar as a foundation on which to build all English work, and will doubtless come to rest here.

Of course, the boy or girl who grows up in an atmosphere of correct and elegant English — if such a fortunate one is to be found — speaks and writes well without studying gram¬ mar. Usage drills help the less fortunate to eliminate flagrant errors, but do not give “the genuine familiarity with the elementary facts of English grammar, without which,” the department of English of the University of Wisconsin tells us, “under existing conditions, it is futile to expect the vast majority of our pupils to acquire the ability to use English correctly either in speech or in writing.”

Grammar in Action is built on a belief that the important aims in grammar teaching are to help pupils (1) to write and speak correct sentences, (2) to construct varied, effective sentences, (3) to punctuate correctly, and (4) to extract thought from the printed page. Because, as Randolph found, half the errors in speech and writing are faults in sentence structure other than the choice of forms, a pupil should learn the terminology for a discussion of sentence building and should be given practice informing, criticizing, and improving sentences.

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