Colleen Trolove | June 22, 2016
A few weeks ago, I ran our Grammar workshop. I loved being on the workshop as much as the participants did. I was so glad to be there! It felt like a healing experience.
The information in the workshop is what I wished I had learnt at school. If I’d known this stuff, my second-year Linguistics paper on syntax would have been less traumatic — probably even pleasant and interesting.
At school, I never learnt the parts of speech or what a clause was. This grammar workshop demystifies all those scary terms I avoided for so long: dependent clause, gerund, modal verb. When I started to understand that vocabulary, I gained power over my writing.
Knowing grammar gives us the ability to punctuate with confidence and accuracy.
Grammar also enables us to improve our writing much more quickly because we develop X-ray vision: we begin to see ‘through’ our sentences. We start to deliberately construct clear sentences — and deconstruct ineffective ones. When we can spot a main verb, we can tell whether or not we’ve written a long, abstract subject. If we realise we have, we can replace it with a short, real one.
This workshop makes an intimidating subject feel manageable. It breaks down the concepts to their most basic and builds up from there. It makes grammar relevant — you can quickly see how understanding grammar benefits your writing style. That becomes great motivation!