Homeschooling

Those pesky prepositions

I am a firm believer in utilizing a formal, rigorous course of study for grammar when your children have entered the analysis level of learning (see post on 02/27/2013).  One of the greatest rewards of studying grammar is the opportunity it provides the student to present themselves well as they head out into adulthood, and one of the most helpful things to remember from grammar study is a basic list of common prepositions.  Why?  Those who take the time to re-arrange both their spoken and written word to ensure no sentences end in a preposition have generally learned how to create a well-worded sentence.  It can take some practice but it is well-worth the time!

Here is a list of the most common English prepositions:

about
above
across
after
against
along
amid
among
around
as
at
before
behind
below
beneath
beside
besides
between
beyond
but
by
concerning
considering
despite
down
during
except
excepting
excluding
following
for
from
in
inside
into
like
near
of
off
on
onto
opposite
outside
over
past
regarding
save
since
than
through
to
toward
towards
under
underneath
unlike
until
up
upon
versus
via
with
within
without

To simplify the memorization process Yep, we memorized them!),  I divided the list into sets of 5-10 (depending on the child) and we worked on one set a week until the complete list was memorized.  After they were comfortable with the list, we would get into the newspaper or other media and look for sentences which needed to be re-written.  Often advertizements and signage are written as incomplete sentences.  That fact can initiate a fun conversation!  You will also find prepositions ending sentences in the scriptures.  That is due to a difference in syntax when translating.  Another fun conversation!  Often, the current vernacular and regional idioms end in prepositions.  (Where is the store at?  What are you looking for? etc.)  As your teens grow older, encourage them in developing a speech pattern which recognizes and correctly places prepositions.  It can be a great mental exercise for the entire family including the parents!

Having the ability to present themselves well on paper or in person gives your children a boost when they leave home.  It is a good habit to develop and is becoming a bit of a lost art.  Let’s revive it!

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Homeschooling

Grammar rant

Warning to my readers-this post is a bit of a rant.

What ever happened to grammar education?!  I realize not everyone had the opportunity to learn to love grammar in Mrs. Pettengill’s ninth-grade English class, but there are two common mistakes that I keep hearing lately that set my teeth on edge!

#1-The misuse of the words fewer and less.  Use fewer if you are talking about a finite, countable number.  “I have fewer cupcakes than I need.”  Save the word less for describing large amounts that are not easily counted.  “This has less information than I was hoping to find.”  We do not have “less books” or “less minutes”; you can have “fewer books” or “fewer minutes.”  You can also have less time than you expected; don’t we all?  I have less fuel in my car than I thought I did (but that is easily remedied).

#2-At what point did the word “why” become an acceptable substitute for “the reason I did this” or “because…”?  “Why I was late is….” or “why I did that…”.  AUGH!!!!  Really?!  Let’s develop our thoughts just a few steps further before we speak them.

I admit I have been called “the grammar police” by my children (and others).  I do have the tendency to grit my teeth when I hear blatant incorrect adverb modifications, or problematic preposition use.

The English language is a wondrous, evolving, and magical language.  Let’s learn to speak it with all the majesty it deserves!

Okay.  Rant ended.