Tag Archives: Freshman English

Life is so much better not diagramming sentences

6 Jan

I know I’m supposed to be writing out to the blogosphere, but I want to take this opportunity to thank my English teacher, Ms. Dell.

Thank you for not making us diagram sentences. I was kind of surprised when you told the whole class that it was one of the concerns mentioned in our responses to what we were hoping to get out of Freshman English. I mean, I know I shouldn’t have been surprised—you did ask us—it’s just that I guess I didn’t think you would really consider acting on what you read. No offense to you personally, but usually teachers ask you to write stuff just to see if you can write, and then they correct your punctuation and your spelling. But you actually read my entry for meaning, as if I had something to say.

My Name Is Lupe Jones

30 Dec
 Assignment #1: What do you hope to get out of Freshman English?

What do I hope to get out of Freshman English? Why do teachers ask these questions? Does it really matter what I hope to get out of Freshman English? I mean, isn’t the year pretty much planned already? Okay…                                                                   

I’m hoping to read some good books. And I’m hoping that we don’t ruin them all by having to write lots of summaries or answer a bunch of picky questions just to prove we’ve read them. Is that what this journal is going to be used for?                 

I like to write. I prefer creative writing, which I never get to do in school, so I hope we get to spend at least part of the year writing poems or short stories or something besides essays. And it is my sincere hope that I will never ever have to diagram another sentence for as long as I live. That’s not writing—that’s dissecting perfectly good sentences into prepositional phrases and parts of speech until all the meaning is sucked out of them and then they’re just a collection of lifeless words. Not only is it pointless, it’s disrespectful of language.                                          

Writing is expressing yourself. It’s poetry that inspires you, fantasy that takes you somewhere else, mystery that makes you want to read more, and humor that gives you the chance to laugh (especially when your own life isn’t so humorous.) I’m not saying that true stuff isn’t writing, but it isn’t fun. Why would anyone want to read about what is if they could read about what could be?