[Edprof] You say polysyndetic coordination; I say huh?

Deborah Gump dgump at concernedjournalists.org
Thu Aug 14 06:45:07 PDT 2008

Dear Edprofers,

Gerald Grow has thrown upon the academic waters several ideas that came to
him during last week¹s AEJMC convention. His full list of ideas is here -
http://www.longleaf.net/ggrow/ideas2008/ - and one of them seemed ideal for
our list: 
How many grammatical terms do students need to know?

I¹m from the KISS school, so when I taught I considered myself lucky to get
the basics down: the parts of speech ­ mostly so I could wave off too many
adverbs and adjectives ­ along with subject, object and, when I felt frisky,
a clause type or two.

I¹m sure there are other grammar terms I used, but I¹m curious what your
answers are to Gerald¹s question, which is below:
> Anyone teaching a language skills course for journalism students faces this
> question: How many grammatical terms do students need to know in order to use
> grammar correctly?
> Clearly, students do not need the full complement of terms taught in a
> textbook of advanced grammar. Most copy editors have happily applied their
> skills without this terminology, and they have clearly explained to others why
> they change certain sentences.
> It might be interesting to conduct a couple of surveys to ask
>     * Which grammatical terms teachers insist on in their language skills
> courses.
>     * Which grammatical terms copy editors find essential to their tasks.
> Naturally, you would be curious how answers from these two groups compare.
> It might also be interesting to ask teachers (and editors) to identify the
> minimum number of grammatical terms someone needs to know to write and edit
> well. Perhaps you could get at this by having respondents rank a list of such
> terms in order of importance. Again, it could be interesting to compare
> responses from the two groups.
> Is there anyone else whose opinion matters? It just might be worthwhile to see
> if you could get a few highly successful reporters to respond, to be able to
> compare their answers. This would help in thinking about whether all students
> need to know the same things about grammar in order to be successful.
> -- 
Deborah Gump, Ph.D.

Director, Print/Online
Committee of Concerned Journalists
529 14th St., N.W., Suite 425
Washington, D.C.  20045
202-662-7159 | dgump at concernedjournalists.org

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