ADVENTURES IN LEARNING THE ENGLISH Language

How many of you remember when you were a teenager?

For some of you, that’s easy. You pull out your driver’s license, look at your birthdate, and go, “Wow, I still am.”

For the rest of us, we have to resort to complicated math equations, only to come up with an answer that tells us we’re one day younger than God.

I often have trouble remembering what it was like to be a teenager. What I do remember is the arrogance I had. It surfaced one beautiful day in 10th grade English class. For almost eight years, my teachers had been patiently explaining the basics of the English language. This is a noun, that’s a verb. Let me show you how to use a comma, or this is a preposition.

So, there I was. Sitting in English class, and way more interested in the young lady sitting next to then I was in the lecture. Mr. Morgan, our teacher, stops and asks if I’m paying attention.

I guess I needed to show off that day, so I told him, “Mr. Morgan, with all due respect, I’ve been studying English for years now. If I don’t know what a verb is by now, don’t you think it’s a little too late?”

Mr. Morgan knew better than to engage a cocky student, and just smiled knowingly. “Mr. Ablan, one fine day you’ll need to know this stuff.” He went back to his lecture while I went back to admiring the girl who wouldn’t give me the time of day.

Flash forward forty plus years. The Lawman has been all but finished for months now. But I don’t want just to toss garbage out there. I want to present the best product I can. I want to fix every little misspelling, evey out of place comma, anything wrong with it. So, I started looking around for good editing software.

I selected Grammarly merely because they offer a yearlong subscription. It’s pretty good. It’s caught a lot of spelling mistakes, but it’s also caught my love affair with the comma (and putting them in places it doesn’t need to be). Or that I tend to write like I talk and end sentences with a lot of words I shouldn’t. The result is the manuscript looks a lot cleaner.

One of the single biggest benefits is one the software doesn’t jump on. It has forced me to look at every word in a sentence and if it needs to be there or not.

And lately, I’m finding myself wishing I’d paid a little more attention in English class. I’m sure that someplace, somewhere, Mr. Morgan has smiled and said, “See. I told you so!”