17th May 2013

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/iv-drip/should-grammar-tests-be-part-of-the-school-curriculum-8611653.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/goves-lesson-spare-the-comma-spoil-the-child-8618624.html

17th May 2013

My very special Oxford, comma,

Gosh, I can’t quite make head nor tail of this whole Michael Gove and the Spag test thing.  As far as I can tell it’s terribly old news, but Michael Rosen has been talking about it, or something, and now some chap called Mark Steel has been making fun of it in The Independent.  Or something.

I personally think it’s a marvellous idea to test young children on their knowledge of grammar.  I am regularly given little cards and pictures by my 8-year-old, who is the highest level reader in her year, and my response is usually: “Darling, this is the wrong use of ‘your’, but thank you.  Now throw it away and start again, or you will never amount to anything.”

I do feel the need to confess to you at this point, however, that I have no idea what a conjunctive is, or conjecture, or that pre-whatsit thing, and I would have to admit (see what I did there with that comma?) that I do like the more expressive use of grammar to get across how you’re feeling… (three dots, always.  I do adore a good ellipsis).  You can also do really cool things with grammar, like draw boobs: ( . Y . ) or if you’re drawing mine (after three years of breastfeeding) they look more like this: \./\./

This Spag test – can I have a copy?  See, when I was a kid, as far as I knew, Grammar was what you called your Nan.  I’d be interested to see how I score in it, since I actually left school at 14 years of age.  I found it incredibly boring and people were very mean to me, so I just stopped going.  The truancy officer at the time told me in no uncertain terms that I would become a prostitute. How wrong he was, my darling.  If only he knew that I was destined for such greatness, for I am adored by the best PM ever in history ever.

I digress.  If I scored reasonably well on this Spag thing then I would finally know that I am a valid member of society and indeed my Tory vote is correct for my, err, grammar thing.  If I scored poorly then I would not feel like I am not good enough.  No, I would feel inspired to strive, strive, strive to better myself in readiness for a wonderful life of striving, for grammar is an awesome power, innit.  In this instance, ‘awesome’ is an adjective, you know.

Katy Anchant

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