Posts Tagged ‘usage’

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TED Talks Grammar

posted: 10.28.14 by Steve Bernhardt

My friend and colleague, Barb Lutz, who directs the Writing Center at the University of Delaware , recently linked a Facebook post to TED Ed: Lessons Worth Sharing. A subset of lessons on grammar and usage are worth a look. TED-Ed brings together the volunteered work of educators and professional animators to create short (3 to 5 minute) lessons on a variety of subjects. The results are quite professional: brisk scripts, clever animations, high quality voice-over narration. [read more]

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Categories: Steve Bernhardt, Uncategorized
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Warning: Your Usage May Vary

posted: 3.20.09 by Traci Gardner

Garment Warning TagWhen I read the tag attached to a new flannel shirt, I thought about student texts that needed a similar tag. It would read something like this:

A note about this text
The differences in spelling or word choice, the appearance of unusual sentence structure or grammatical constructions are all part of the natural beauty of language. These linguistic characteristics are an important part of the style and enhance the beauty of this text. These VARIATIONS are not considered defective.

In a world that expects standardization, it’s hard to explain that language has few absolutes. Most writing teachers know that language use comes with color, shading, and finish that to a purist seem like errors.

The regional, cultural, and social variations we read in student texts, like the “fabric slubs and gentle wrinkles” of my new shirt, are all “part of the natural beauty” of the final products that we see.

The challenge in the classroom is helping students identify the times when the variations don’t fit the overall fabric of the text. We accept a few wrinkles in a journal entry or email message, but we generally expect the formal essays students turn in to be more polished. Here’s one way to show them:

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Categories: Assignment Idea, Grammar & Style
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Wikipedia Manual of Style Check

posted: 3.4.08 by Barclay Barrios

Have your class review Wikipedia’s style manual. Ask them to look for areas that seem to depart from general grammatical usage or areas that seem particularly important. Have them compare these areas to the handbook and then use this to start a discussion about the socially constructed nature of grammatical rules in general and the reasons why a project like Wikipedia would be invested in a particularly uniform style.

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Categories: Assignment Idea, Grammar & Style, Teaching with Technology
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Ask Grammar Girl

posted: 2.5.08 by Barclay Barrios

Grammar Girl is a great podcast that answers questions about grammar, language, and usage. You might encourage your class to subscribe to this podcast but, even better, have students propose a question to Grammar Girl. Not only will this get them more closely engaged with the trickier issues of grammar but it will also provide you with a list of questions your students still have.

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Categories: Assignment Idea, Grammar & Style, Teaching with Technology
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