I've mentioned previously my latest writing venture, a biweekly column in the Akron Legal News. Tomorrow will be my fifth column since all this started. Since they haven't run me out yet, this seems solid enough to start blogging about without jinxing it. So I'll start posting a preview with a few links, perhaps a nut graf or two and maybe even a few snippets from the cutting room floor. Unfortunately you have to get the dead tree version of the Legal News to actually read the thing as my columns aren't being posted on the website yet.
So this week I was inspired by the 50th anniversary of Strunk and White's Elements of Style and some of the inevitable anti-Elements backlash from the descriptivist camp as a hook. While the descriptivist may have some points about some of the grammar "rules" contained in Elements, I'm concerned that the general reaction against prescriptive grammar has provided some of the impetus to stop teaching grammar in K-12 schools, to the detriment of students and those of us who have to read there writing attempts in college.
- Conjugating verbs, learning parts of speech and diagramming sentences seem rote and pointless, especially to succeeding generations of more digitized students. But that kind of grammar instruction gives us a language to speak about language. We can teach good, clear, readable writing more easily when students understand how the parts of language work together and have a vocabulary for discussing those parts.
Anyway, if you happen to get the Legal News or otherwise come across it tomorrow, give it a look.