I’ve been thinking about school this month. All students have favorite subjects and subjects they dread. I was no different. While I loved the reading/writing/analyzing part of English I did not like the spelling or grammar. Diagraming sentences and rules of punctuation could be mastered for a test, but then were quickly forgotten. When I was in college studying to be a speech therapist those old parts of speech rules came back to haunt me because they are important when we look at language development. Fortunately for me, as I gravitated toward the adult medical population there was less need for this knowledge.
Then I began writing and punctuation, word use, sentence structure were important. Still as quickly as I looked up something, say punctuating dialogue it was gone. Overtime some rules stuck but I still second guess myself. Certainly, authors take creative license with some rules but not without a good reason.
English is a very difficult language to learn as a second language. Our rules are full of exceptions. Many words sound the same with different spellings and meaning. The same letter or letter combinations can have a different sound. Because we learn so much of this from birth, we muddle through without realizing just how difficult it is. As a speech therapist, when I began to work with people who speak English as a second language, I saw the difficulty first hand.
Now most of us can Google a rule if we are in doubt. If you prefer a book. Woe is I by Patricia T. O’Connor and Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss are both informative and more fun than a textbook!