Useful line from Katharine’s last post:
…the conventions of written language, unlike those of spoken language, are not picked up incidentally by most native English speakers…
For some reason, I find the question of what we learn incidentally endlessly fascinating.
In my case, I actually did pick up most of the conventions of writing incidentally. I wrote by ear.
But how did I acquire an “ear”?
I’m sure my path to incidental learning of “school grammar” was obsessive reading. I was a bookworm: I read the backs of cereal boxes at the breakfast table; I read books when we had company; on vacation trips I read Agatha Christie mysteries as my family walked along seeing the sights. [1/11/2020 – UPDATE: Had a conversation with Katharine yesterday re: learning to write without being taught to write. I’m not so sure now that obsessive reading was the ticket.]
At some point, I gained the ability to hear what I wrote.
Nevertheless, I would have been much better off if some teacher had sat me down and taught me the principles Katharine and I cover in Europe in the Modern World.