Have you ever wanted to know something well? By “well,” I mean know something to such a degree that you can teach others about it. Think about what you do on a daily basis and think if you know anything to such a degree. Chances are, you do. Not everyone knows what you do for a living or what your hobbies are all about. If I had to guess, you could probably give me a good education about a good many thing.
In my life, there are a few things I do particularly well. I am currently a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I’ve been practicing that for years and I am now an instructor, where I teach others about the sport. I’m good at both practicing and teaching. I can also design websites and manage servers. I can take pretty good photographs and I can also process those photos through many of Adobe’s image editing applications. I can cook and I can build homemade tables. Although, I’m not sure anyone would actually want me to make them one of my tables or have me teach them my process. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I know enough to get by.
Something has been bothering me lately and I haven’t been able to shake it. Day after day, I sit at my desk and write. If I had to truly break down what I do and tell someone about it, I’d almost certainly have to say that I’m a writer. Almost every single thing I do revolves around written English. I guess I could say I’m a communicator, because after all, that’s what I’m doing right now.
What’s bothering me is the fact that I feel as though I don’t know enough about the English language itself. As a child, I learned virtually nothing (besides from my mother with her no-nonsense attitude when it came to grammar) in school. That was my own fault because I had a little problem with daydreaming and looking out the window when I was supposed to be paying attention to any number of teachers. As I got older, in college, I started studying for the GMAT to get into grad school. During this time, I learned the most I ever had about English. I learned about vocabulary, grammar and punctuation. During those six months of rather intense studying, I picked up so much knowledge that I was able to score the highest on a paper out of 330 students in one of my business classes at Binghamton University. I’ll remember that day forever. I walked down to the front of the classroom to pick up the scored essay and was informed that I had, in fact, knocked the socks off of the teaching assistant who graded most of them. I was extraordinarily proud of myself.
The issue at the heart of things is this; while I’m able to get by with speaking and writing, I don’t actually know why I’m doing a lot of what I do. If I were to try this in, say, mathematics, I’d never be able to pull off what I’m pulling off. I’d see a problem like 2+2 and I’d answer it with something like, “Probably more than 3, but less than 7. I’m not sure, but I know it’s surely more than 2.” With math, you need to know the answer and you also need to know the rule. You need to familiarize yourself with the formula that allows you to master one area and move onto the next. That’s what I’d like to accomplish with the English language.
English is beautiful. I’ve written stories that have made me cry as I was writing them. I’ve also read stories that have made me do the same thing. Has anyone ever told you something that has actually altered your current state? Have you ever gotten chills from listening to someone speak? Has anyone ever whispered something in your ear that has made your knees weaken? My point is, the language most of us speak who are reading this blog is worth learning more about. Considering the fact that we use it every single day of our existence, I’d say this is a fact.
A few days ago, I decided to do something about my little problem. I went online and ordered a guidebook on English grammar. In my opinion, it’s the perfect place to start.
The book is called Perfect English Grammar and it was written by Grant Barrett. I’ve already read a good portion of the beginning of the book and I have to say that I’m so exited about the prospects of learning why I do the things I try to do.
The book starts off with Composition.
In that section, it talks about paragraphs and structure and all sorts of things.
It also dives into plurals and possessives and transitional verbs, which I’m particularly excited about.
You know, I feel that it’s never too late to learn about the nitty gritty of life. Just because most of us are over eighteen years old, it doesn’t mean that we need to stop everything and just muddle our ways through our lives. There’s a big world out there with a lot of people in it who are very worth talking to and communicating with. I’d say it’s a noble effort to try to do our best at making a good presentation.