Monday, November 24, 2008

Reading The Elements of Style (found it on my shelf). Reads to me like a foreign language, or rather like some dialect that uses familiar letters and sounds, and strings them together with words I know, but then fills each sentence with words I don't know the meanings of, so I'm foever going "Huh?" "What?". I feel like an idiot. The examples are helpful, I can understand them. I just can't comprehend the sentences containing the rules. The book assumes, sadly wrongly so, that I have some sort of clue as to the definitions (and thus the words contained within them), of the terms it uses.
Goodness, I'm going to have to make flash cards and stick them around my house; see if I can't get some of this stuff into me.
No I am not smarter than a 5th grader.
pronominal possessives
indefinite pronouns
parenthetic expressions
a conjunction introducing an independent clause
a participial phrase
My brain just doesn't hold such things.
( I do however recall what adjectives, nouns, and verbs are)
Many of the rules once I see the examples, I realize I know and do; others I know I can't consistently apply, because I can't understand what is contained within the rules.
Salt, I need mental salt, to help me retain information like water.


strugglingwriter said...

Don't feel bad. I don't know what half the stuff you said there means either.

As long as you can follow the examples, that is fine. You don't need to know the official names for those things.

Taffiny said...


God I hope you're right. I got really upset today when I realized that I'm unable learn these terms; it just becomes gibberish to me. There are just so many terms I find it totally overwhelming.
Cheese talked me off the ledge earlier by basically saying what you just did.

Akasha Savage said...

I too have read The Elements of Style. Correction: TRIED to read it, but as you say, half of it is like reading a foreign language!
The book I go back to time and time again is Stephen King's On Writing. I urge you to read it if you haven't already.

Taffiny said...

Akasha Savage,

Glad I've got company. :)

On Writing, I have read it, and enjoyed it.
But I haven't gone back since, and you're right, now that my thinking is different, because my experience is more, I should go back and reread it; I bet I will learn more than I did the first time.