Archives For the yoof of today

Visiting grammar

Nathan Campbell —  February 9, 2010

One of the perks of moving back to Brisbane is that we’re living around the corner from my gran for the first time ever – she moved to Brisbane this year from regional New South Wales. It’s nice having the family together.

I have no doubt that my gran would be horrified by the story I’m about to share with you. It comes after Robyn and I (along with some other first years at QTC) took a crash course in English grammar as part of our first Greek lesson today.

There may be hope for us yet – apparently first year university students in Canada are demonstrating a complete lack of proficiency in the English language. This is happening all over the world, but some of the quotes from lecturers at the university are brilliant.

“Little happy faces … or a sad face … little abbreviations,” show up even in letters of academic appeal, says Khan Hemani.

“Instead of ‘because’, it’s ‘cuz’. That’s one I see fairly frequently,” she says, and these are new in the past five years.

I must confess – in the past I was a complete comma fiend. My father always used to bang on about run on sentences. I solved that problem by replacing commas with dashes and throwing in the occasional ellipses between disparate clauses. This little quote from a second professor is pretty funny.

“Punctuation errors are huge, and apostrophe errors. Students seem to have absolutely no idea what an apostrophe is for. None. Absolutely none.”

“I get their essays and I go ‘You obviously don’t know what a sentence fragment is. You think commas are sort of like parmesan cheese that you sprinkle on your words’,” said Budra.