Grammar Ain’t for Wimps.

So I’m taking this grammar class. . .

How’s that for an opening?  I imagine it would be the beginning of a horror story with grammar Nazi’s chasing you with red pens in hand.  Okay, I went to Catholic school, so it would be grammar Nazi nuns chasing me with a ruler in one hand and a red pen in the other.  It’s enough to make even a hardened writer run for the exit.

Since the class is online, I think I might be safe.  It is odd taking a grammar class though.  Even though I finished my English degree in 2007, not  that long ago, I never really took any type of grammar class in my seventeen years of college life.  (Yes, seventeen years, but that is another story that entails shiftwork and night classes and moving to new states, etc.)  The last time I remember studying grammar was in high school over thirty years ago.  I figured this class would be rough going, but have been pleasantly surprised so far.  It seems that I actually learned something in my 10th grade English class besides that I sucked at flirting.  I remember the blonde that sat in front of me who rolled her eyes every time I tried to talk to her.  Okay, maybe I was a nerd back then even if I didn’t realize it at the time.  The silver lining to my teenage angst of thirty years ago is that I don’t suck at grammar — so far.

We are in week four and so far it’s been pretty much a review.  The only exception would be verb tenses.  Who knew there were so many verb tenses?  Maybe we went over tenses on that one day in class when the blonde actually turned around and asked me a question.  My brain was fried for the rest of that class.  Getting back to tenses, I have no problem with the simple tenses: past, present, and future, or the perfect tenses.  Then there are the progressive tenses – at this point I wondered why I voluntarily took this class – and just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, there are the perfect progressive tenses.

Luckily there are charts, and lucky for us literate native English speakers, we tend to use the right verb tenses without thinking about it too much.  I’m guessing that blonde from 10th grade English wished she spent more time paying attention in class rather than flipping her hair at the jock that sat next to her, or maybe that’s wishful thinking.  She’s probably written several bestsellers and I’m still worrying over verb tenses.