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Oh, dear. I'm also older than the Rockies and younger than the Appalachians.
I've told people (and meant it) that I have socks older than they are. I'm
afraid I can't quote all the rules, give the correct reasons for why something
should be written a certain way, or properly name every participial phrase. I
have gerund issues.
But I can't blame my elementary school, high school, or college teachers for it.
I diagrammed hundreds of sentences. I aced all of my tests. I've simply
forgotten. I'm 100% certain how something should be written. And at least 85% of
the time I'm right. ;-) But I'm about 50/50 when it comes to explaining why.
I think that somewhere in the recesses of my brain is that part that remembers
diagramming sentences and naming all of the clauses. I haven't dangled a
participle in years (that I remember). Even though I don't remember consciously
why something is correct, I believe that my education has served me well. I do
look things up (you should see the list of grammar bookmarks on my browser) when
I'm in doubt. My cubicle is the "reference library" in our department.
Would I hire a writer who couldn't explain copyediting decisions? I'd have to
evaluate his or her overall talent, knowledge, and experience. I'd have to
decide who could be brought up to speed soonest. I'd have to ask myself which
candidate fills in the gaps in the department's knowledge and experience. It
might be the kid younger than the argyles, then again it might not.
Senior Technical Writer
TCF National Bank
jbaer -at- mailbox1 -dot- tcfbank -dot- com
If you can remain calm, you
just don't have all the facts.
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