Anyone who has had to edit and/or mark Korean language learner journals, writing exercises, paragraph work, essay work, essay tests, written short answers on tests and exams . . . they know well the common errors that come up time after time after time regardless of how well you might have thought the students understood your explanation, for example, that you should not put a comma before, “Because” in the middle of a sentence . . . and of course that, “Because” should not be capitalized any time it’s used . . . yes, that’s right . . . ANY time it’s used.
UPDATE: Just for the Grammar Nazis out there . . . okay, yes, let’s get really anal about this post and ignore its tongue in cheek casual style and the fact that it’s on a BLOG and not in a classroom . . . to keep the Grammar Nazis happy I will gladly point out that “Because” can be capitalized if you’re using it to begin a sentence. I will say, however, that I think using “Because” at the beginning of a sentence illuminates a style of writing that I like to say is “interesting” and that I recommend NOT doing this so that your writing is stronger and clearer–but then, that’s a stylistic preference so take it with a grain of salt. Oh yeah, and just to be really crystal clear about the comma being used before “because” in a sentence . . . I was talking about simple sentences where if you DO use a comma before “because” it general ends up being a comma splice. It’s late, I’m tired, and I’m NOT a Grammar Nazi so if I missed something go rant about it and chant grammar rules while thinking evil thoughts about kimchi-icecream’s blog at your next GN meeting.
Or another favorite of mine . . . capitalizing the first word at the beginning of EVERY LINE on a page when writing a Journal. Because we all know this is long (read “wrong” here, lol)and then there’s my one that I battled often( Because It irked me ) where students just couldn’t memorize the simple rule of putting a space before an open parenthesis (like This) with no space after the open parenthesis (like this) and no space after the last letter of the finishing word inside The parentheses (like this) and of course finishing up with leaving one space after the close parenthesis (like this). Sigh….
Then there’s the random spacer writer who roves (there’s that mixing up “r” and “l” again) to write words with no ap par ent understanding of keeping a uniporm (“f” and “p” also get mixed up) amount the space in between word …..
You can see how that might get irritating to an English teacher–especially after having written comments about said problem week after week after week of journal entries from said student who is studying to become, wait for it, wait for it, yes AN ENGLISH-IE TEACHER!
One of the gems I remember from university student journals is from the topic, “The world will end in 24 hours. What do you do?” A female student wrote that she’d “go home and spend time with my family. I would then sleep with my father, my mother, my two brothers and me.” OHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! Needless to say the devil inside me could not resist writing a cautionary note about how “sleep” has a ‘sexual meaning.’ I did not speak to her directly about this, but watched her after handing back the journals to the class. She immediately flipped open her journal to the last entry to see what errors she had and to read any notes I’d written, and then the slow red blush exploded across her face. She leaned over to her friend and said something quietly and her friend’s jaw dropped 10 feet . . . funny!
I’ll finish off with a few more of my favorite journal entries . . .
This particular journal entry was one that I really hope IS full of meaning errors . . .
“My dream is nice teacher. I will give children love and dream. I will beat children because I love children.”
I SERIOUSLY hope that this is just one of many examples of WRONG WORD CHOICE that I have seen in hundreds of journal entries! It likely is, and the note I wrote below this journal entry treats it as such–but I worry a little, I must admit, that something is amiss . . .
Another student wrote, “I don’t have romance. I am poor guy.” The thing about this entry was that the English printing had some problems, and the word “guy” looked a lot like “gay” . . . I often lecture students about needing to be careful about their printing because it can radically change the meaning of a sentence. I think I just found one example that might actually sink in for them. And please don’t think I’m teaching them homophobia–any time I say something that might be misconstrued to mean, for example, ‘be afraid of letting people know you are gay’ or something along those lines, I always explain and elaborate to cover any possible misunderstandings that might come up.
And I’ll finish with one of my all time favorites . . .
“My loving experience is not so much, but In some of my romance experiences, I’ve got the “common truth”, outward appearance (big eyes, long hair, shape of body) is important to me but more important thing is disposition (warm-hearted)”