The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

Call the Grammar Police

Why Parker should teach grammar
Call+the+Grammar+Police
Photo credit: The Parker Weekly

Grammar: it’s the basis of every in-class essay, break-up text, Doordash order, and late homework email we write. The literal (adjective) fundamentals (noun) of the English language that we have supposedly (adverb) been learning for the last thirteen years. But on the first Grammar Monday of my junior year, it hit me like a brick (simile, which is a literary device, however not a part of speech);  I was nodding along to Mr. Laufer’s grammar lesson realizing I was weak and painfully clueless as to what he was talking about.

He was throwing out phrases (again, figurative language, a hyperbole, Mr. Laufer doesn’t actually “throw out” phrases) I’ve heard of, but never truly understood, and I was expected to nod my head and raise my hand if I had any questions. ANY QUESTIONS? Where do I even start?  It was like he was speaking a foreign language, ironic since we were dissecting our native language. I’m not being dramatic when I say I had never been taught any of this before (ok, maybe it’s a minor (adjective) exaggeration (noun)). On that day, I had a revelation: I will never excel in an English class if I can’t even explain how English Englishes. Capiche?

After several Grammar Mondays, I’ve come to realize that this might just be a “me” problem. I came to Parker in sixth grade, conveniently the year I would have, at my former school, started integrating English Grammar into the syllabus. When I arrived at Parker, we were not lectured on simple versus complete subjects until eighth grade, which happened to be my special Covid year at home, and now proves apparent that learning was more challenging from home. So, why is Grammar such a touchy subject for me as a junior in Upper School? 

I think some of it stems from the ease of the internet. How accessible it is to pull out my computer and find the Greek origin, synonyms, use over time, and definition of any word in any language in approximately 0.30 seconds (thank you, Google), and I have to use approximately 0.0% of my brain power to search up a word. Maybe 0.1% for spelling said word, but then again Google spell-check keeps adapting to human spelling errors in real time. This makes punctuation and grammar so effortless and has stunted my grammar evolution so much so that I would never dream of referring to an actual Oxford dictionary in my backpack, rather there’s one in my phone, which fits in my pocket and could also function as a flashlight, a speaker, a camera… you get the point. 

So why show up for Grammar Mondays? Why is it important? My computer will correct me! My auto dictate will make me look grammatically gifted! Why not descend into utter complacent grammar laziness? Here’s why: grammar is a fundamental building block that gives our language substance. Its entire meaning and value give us the ability to express ourselves through the English language. If there is nothing else I learn at Parker, I will walk away always knowing that effectively expressing myself with the proper use of grammar allows me to build bridges in my life through language, and building a bridge to the next phase of our lives is, at the core, why we are all here.

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About the Contributor
Annabel McIntosh, Opinions Editor
Annabel McIntosh is a junior in her third year on "The Weekly" and her first as the Opinions Editor. Last year on "The Weekly" she was a Culture Critic and enjoys writing about new locations, exhibits, and movies. Annabel loves nothing more than drinking her Strawberry Açaí (light ice, extra strawberries) and reading or editing each opinion article. When she isn't reading emails in the Library, you can find her playing field hockey, ordering Senate food, or writing poetry.