Re: teaching grammar to raise scores on SAT/ACT language tests, Jean writes:
….I should think there are not many students who can identify a clause. I couldn’t, until I put my two kids through Rod & Staff English, where they tell you all about clauses every year. (I put my kids through R&S because I had never been taught any grammar except nouns, verbs, and adjectives. It seems to have paid off; my 17yo got a 790 on the SAT verbal.)
Jean smoked me out!
I was tempted, in my earlier post, to say that until I started teaching freshman composition a few years ago, I couldn’t identify clauses, either.
But I thought better of it.
Funny thing is, when I returned to teaching I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I’d been taught the difference between simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences as a child; I remembered it well. But I had no idea that I’d never actually understood it.
So there I was, staring down students’ mangled sentences, not having much idea what was actually wrong with them, and thinking I knew what a complex sentence was when I didn’t.
That was then.