Khaled Almauri Khaled Almauri English 3080j Mathew Vetter June 5 2013

Reading a lot of articles, my friend was trying his best to support his claims by the climes w of other writers and authors. As I was watching, I was thinking of how much effort my friend is putting into this writing. According to my observations on my friend’s effort, I was sure that he would not get any grade less than a B+. I had my reasons for that idea, my friend is an excellent writer, and he was putting a lot of effort on the paper. A week later, my friend told me, with an outraged tone and terrifying facial expressions that he got an F in that paper. While I was listening, I was not sure if I kept listening to him; yet, I was asking myself, how in the earth would he get an F. I asked him again how did het get an F, “well, because I should be a grammar master” he replied. Apparently, the professor gave the students a limit of three grammatical errors, surpassing that means an F. It was not even an English class. After that incident, I kept asking myself, why is grammar that important? Shouldn’t we be judged on the quality of our ideas rather than the quantity of our grammatical errors? I spent two quarters in the OPIE program in Ohio University; Most of what I was learning was grammar and how to successfully create a complex grammar structure in my writings. Yet, I wanted to learn more about how to become a better writer. How can I sharpen my ideas and connect them with other ideas. How to become a better “free” writer instead of paying attention to where I should capitalize a word, what tense should I use, or the three mistakes limit.


I am not arguing that grammar should not be a major aspect of writing, however, I am arguing the grammar mistakes happen a lot and they shouldn’t be that strict when dealing with them in the academic field. There are many reasons why grammar mistakes should not be a dreadful nightmare for students. Factors like, the history of English language and the evolving process of the language, the background of the students, and the essence of writing. In this paper, I will discuses my point of view of those three factors listed above along with climes from various writers. Grammar, in a simplify definition, is the structure of a sentence. However, the English language has been evolving as the years passes. The change of grammar rules change over the years as the people and their way of talking and communicating differ. Are the writings of William Shakespeare the same as an English teacher nowadays? Could we say they Shakespeare is wrong because he is different? Or the English teacher is wrong because he is not writing like Shakespeare brilliant way of writing? Absolutely not, because they way of English writing and grammar have drifted. In his article, “Good English and Bad” argues the scaling of a good or a bad writing by grammar and how English have changed a lot over the years along the Latin roots in the language. “Considerations of what makes for good or bad English,” Bryson notes, “are to an uncomfortably large extent matter of prejudice and conditioning. Until the eighteenth century it was correct to say, “you was” if you were referring to one person (49). Bryson explains how the language changes and how that affects the grammar rules. According to Bryson, “Was is a singular verb and were is a plural one” (49), how is it possible to use that grammar rule when it contradicts with all the other rules. As I student it is just puzzling to know the reason for an English grammar rule and not knowing the reason for another ruler as the example listed above,


Khaled Almauri which is time. On the contrary, today’s generation have developed new words and new grammatical structure, which is what they speak out of the classes. Shouldn’t that new system be taught or even used in writing? Wasn’t grammar made to make a sentence understandable to other readers? Then why being so strict about something everyone understands? When dealing with grammar, people who aren’t native English speakers double the troubles of that problem. Mastering English in four years, which is how most students get their degrees within, rarely happens. First, the vast number of words and grammar rules needs a lifetime to be learned. Learning languages is a very complex process, starting from gathering words to create a complex sentence. Moreover, every language has its own rules and structures. When international students start to learn English all the rules mix up together making the writing of an international student look totally different than native English speakers. Not only at the beginning of learning English, but also for a long time after wards. From a personal experience, I have been learning English for three years, yet, I still mix some of my mother tongue language, Arabic, with English when I speak or write. International student, when placed in English classes with native English speakers they automatically face a grater risk with grammatical errors. While correcting, some professors will not necessarily pay attention to what part of the world did this student come from, they would correct the paper grammatically, not nationally. This way of correcting, in my opinion is not fair since an American student have a wider background in English than an international student who have been learning English for a less period of time. These difficulties in grammar system, faced by international students, make it harder for those students not only to get good grades but to pass some other classes. As a matter of fact, I think English classes should be separated, or the correcting system as a whole should be separated when correcting grammar.


Sawir (2005) write: Most recent research studies of international students, in particular those conducted in Australia, identify their problems in coping with English – both academic English and conversational English – in the field of education. These difficulties are felt especially in relation to speaking and writing. This is especially made clear in the evidence of students themselves. Of all the social and academic issues and problems facing international students that are cited in recent studies – differences in learning style, culture shock, homesickness, social difficulties – the problem they themselves most often refer to is difficulties with English.(569) As indicated above, the English rules are hard for international student along with the major requirement of mastering grammar when writing a paper for a class. Accordingly, this huge fear of grammar makes it even harder for them to cope with English. If grammar was not that big of a deal, students would learn English even faster. Yet, keeping student failing classes because of grammar makes it even worse because they are just repeating the same thing without learning something new in English. Besides from what is mentioned above, why is writing in academic settings, mainly undergraduate English classes, have been revolving around grammar instead of what am I actually writing. Whenever I have a new paper to write, after each sentence, I would start looking for grammar mistakes. I think that the strict grammar correcting system have made students neglect the true essence of writing and focus more on writing empty sentences but in a really perfect grammar shape. I remember in all of my other English classes, the teachers would give us a paper of how they are going to grade our paper. Three froths of the grading list is on grammar. Before, I would


Khaled Almauri try my best to write bright ideas and a coherent ideas flow without paying that much attention to my grammar. However, I would always get low grades because of my grammar. Does grammar make a bright writer? In my opinion no. What makes a better writer in the ideas he put in a paper, how well and organized those ideas are. On the contrary, many other people would argue that grammar is a very important aspect in writing and it should be connected to whether you are a good or a bad writer. As they claim, you cannot be a serious writer unless you have good use of grammar. In his article, “Reconsidering English Grammar Teaching for Improving Non-English Majors’ English Writing Ability” (79), Yuru Shen illustrates the importance of grammar in learning any language; “Phonetics and vocabulary are its building materials while grammar is its basic structure, without which we cannot learn a language well”. Similarly, John Dawkins shares the same approach as Shen when speaking about grammar. In his article, “Teaching Punctuation as a Rhetorical Tool” Dawkins explains the importance of grammar, and learning its components. “Punctuation”, Dawkins notes, “just one of the mechanics of writing…” (140). In my opinion grammar is important, however, grammar should be the number one rule in writing. Making grammar a big concern in writing especially with teachers who grade strictly, have made students afraid of writing. I cannot imagine how many brilliant writers with genuine ideas have drifted away from writing because of how classes grade writing in a grammatical platform. Overall, a piece of writing should not be judged on how grammatically perfect it was written. A student should not be failed because he or she has made three or more grammatical errors. Writing is way more than just a comma or a verb tense. Grammar should not be used for strictly grade a paper for many reasons. Firstly, English is always evolving day after day. It was not the same, and it is not going to be the same. Secondly, not all collage students are native


English native speakers and this should count along with non-English classes that require really advanced grammar in their grading. Third, the essence of writing is more about the ideas rather than just the grammar, which have turned writing the other way. Writing should be judged by the ideas in writing rather than looking at how many commas a writer have missed.


Khaled Almauri Work cited. Bryson, Bill. “Good English and Bad”. The Mother Tounge. 1990. 134-144. Dawkins, John. “Teaching Punctuation as a Rhetorical Tool.” College composition and Communication 46.4 (1995): 533-48. Print. Sawir, Erlenawati. “Language difficulties of international students in Australia: The effects of prior learning experience”. International Education Journal, 2005, 6(5), 567-580. Shen, Yuru. “Reconsidering English Grammar Teaching for Improving Non-English Majors’ English Writing Ability” English Language Teaching; Vol. 5, No. 11; 2012


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