As a writer, I have a complicated relationship with grammar. Technically, I know proper grammar and how to write sentences, but on the flip side, I didn’t know how to use commas correctly until sophomore year of high school. I think I was probably confronted with grammar in elementary school, and decided that I would do my best to avoid it from then on. It worked for a while, as I continued to follow my instincts while writing, and if someone asked me to explain my sentence structure, I would just change the subject. In freshman year, I did have to learn some grammar terms and rules, but nothing I learned stuck with me after I took a test, which I promptly failed, no surprise there.
This is why I’m hesitant to identify as a writer. Yes, I write a lot, but am I really a writer? I’ve been trapped in a paradox where I’ll only consider myself a proper writer if I’m knowledgeable about grammar, while simultaneously never taking the time to tackle it head on. Grammar fell into the category of “things I probably should have learned in elementary/middle school but never did.” Other honorable mentions that fall into this category are long division and cursive.
I assumed that I’d probably have to learn grammar while in college, but it didn’t show up in my WR100 or COM101 classes, giving me false hope — maybe I would actually be able to keep up my charade. However, this semester I walked into COM201, and reading the syllabus revealed that my time spent in the grammatical dark was over. I’m going to be graded on my grammar ability, and let me tell you, I am not ready for college-level grammar tests. I don’t think I’m even ready for middle school-level tests.
I guess I’m sort of happy, because now I won’t go into my future job/internship with grammar insecurities. At the same time, I’m scared, because what if I’m not good at it? What on Earth is a dangling modifier? Although I don’t think that everything grammatically correct is good writing — I have read some bland pieces with impeccable sentences — I do believe it plays an important part in becoming a more mature writer.