Incorrect Grammar 101: A Lesson in Terrible Teaching

I don’ t generally like to use this blog to complain. But right now, I don’t care. I’m going for it. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of humor, especially if you know who I’m complaining about.

I have this class. This class I hate. I’m not saying what class or who it’s with. I’m just saying it’s a class. Below is an outline of what we talked about in class. It comes straight from my notes, including my insightful insight.

Note: I will call the professor Pat so I don’t have to use he/she 450 times in this post.

Pat opens class with an embarrassing announcement about a scholarship I won. OK fine, but Pat was only using it to get on my good side. Spoiler alert: it didn’t work.

After the pointless announcement, Pat says, “Today we’re going to have a quick and dirty grammar lesson.” A) Pat should NEVER say quick and dirty B) Pat is terrible at grammar.

Great! Let’s get started.

First lesson according to Pat: Keep seasons lowercased, except when used as a semester. WRONG! Look it up, Pat. Fall, spring and summer semesters are lowercase. Sources: AP Stylebook, UNI Styleguide page 15, every AP Style site on the Internet.

Moving along.

We appropriately spent 11 minutes discussing predicates. Mostly, it was Pat saying “Is this a predicate?” and the class staring at Pat like WTF.

Predicates are easy. We learned that in third grade. Funny thing is, Pat taught it wrong. Pat said, and I quote, “The sentence ‘The glacier melted’ does not have a predicate.” WRONG! Google it. Every sentence has a predicate.

Another incorrect predicate example (I’ve got about seven, so I’m only posting the best of the worst): The predicate of the sentence “The garbage smells bad,” according to Pat, is “bad.” No. Just, no.

After we finally got done with the hell of predicates, we continued on to how to keep writing concise. Awesome! Every writer needs to know how to keep things concise. Except all Pat did was read a list of 50 phrases that could be shortened. Example: “In order to” can be shortened to “To.” Hey thanks.

After spending 20 minutes on keeping things concise (ironic because that segment of the class was not concise at all. In fact, just the opposite), we move on to cliches and euphemisms. Funny thing: Pat couldn’t explain the difference between the two. I audibly giggled.

Then came my favorite part of the class. Pat literally said, “Now on to capitalization.” WTF? Capitalization? I’m in college for goodness sake. I learned capitalization before I could read.

But nonetheless, we pushed forward into the boring world of capitalization. The following is just a list of crap Pat said, and my personal commentary to it (all this is in my notes. I honestly wrote most of these comments down).

  • Capitalize the first word of the sentence. Thanks, I forgot.
  • Capitalize proper nouns. Really? Pat also noted that you capitalize “first person singular.” In other words, capitalize I. Thanks again.
  • Capitalize job titles. No. Don’t preach the importance of knowing AP Style then tell me to always capitalize titles.
  • Cities are capitalized. Oh, really?
  • Capitalize earth only when it’s in the context of other celestial bodies. Example: I like it on earth. Mars is next to Earth. See? When “Earth” is in  sentence with another planet, then you capitalize it, but when it’s not, you don’t. Wrong. You capitalize it when it’s used as the proper name. “I like it on earth” should be “I like it on Earth.” Look it up. Oh, and I figured out how Pat came up with this. I Googled “Earth capitalize.” Look at the first link. Like actually click on it. Does it look like a site you would trust? Here’s the site I’m referring to, just in case your Google is different than mine.
  • Don’t capitalize “the” in names. Example: the University of Northern Iowa, not The University of Northern Iowa. Hey, Pat got one right.
  • Capitalize “Grandma” but not “my grandma.” Hey, another one right! We’re almost on a roll.
  • Don’t capitalize terms of endearment. Dur
  • Political entities: capitalize “mayor” before a name but not after. Example: Mayor Jon. Jon, the Cedar Falls mayor. Hey, wouldn’t this rule have been handy when Pat was talking about titles?
  • E-mail capitalization: use the same format as you would normally write. Oh, really? Because I usually e-mail like “i love to eMail. its fun, jACK.” Oh, and don’t use all caps. It seems like you’re yelling. AHHH Hahahahaha (Pat laughed really hard at this and did a demonstration. This tragedy cannot be reenacted on this blog for fear of death of the readers). THANKS FOR THE INSIGHT ON THAT ONE, PAT.
  • Capitalize “Internet” and “Web.” Hey good job.

And that was Pat’s awesome grammar class. At the end, Pat said, “That was a quick and dirty look at grammar. You can refer to it in future years.” Yea, the only way I’m referring to this in future years is to laugh at how pointless and ridiculous this class was.  Oh, and it’s still not OK to use “quick and dirty,” Pat. It’s weird.

I feel better now that I could get that out in the open. I will suffer through the rest of the semester in Pat’s class, and I’ll be better for it. Not a better professional, just better at putting up with being taught incorrectly. Do you have any funny Pat stories? Or stories about terrible teachers? Share them here. Let it out. Vent.

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10 thoughts on “Incorrect Grammar 101: A Lesson in Terrible Teaching

  1. Ciara Pearce says:

    Bahahaha…I clicked on the link….Pat literally took her whole grammar lesson from the one of the sketchiest websites ever! I think your blog post can be substituted for her “quick and dirty” grammar lesson next time :)

  2. Joan says:

    Oh my gosh, I feel for you! Seems like torture to me. Keep on venting – it sounds as though you’ll need to do that a lot.

  3. Brittany says:

    Words cannot describe my laughter while reading this post. I’d like to vent and share a quick story:
    While I sat in a particular class, the professor (you can let your mind wander with this one) talked of surveys and how you have to make questions very general because you never know who your audience might be. “You don’t want to insult anyone, of course. Sometimes people’s education doesn’t match up with their IQ. Sometimes their IQ is higher than their education and the other way around”, said the professor.

    So, here I am thinking of an instructor with a PhD that does not have an IQ to match? I’m thinking of a name….

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