Learning by writing hasn't worked.
You've proved yourself wrong in this thread, Lash. Not to be harsh on you but as I said you write just fine and yet you were unable to discern an adverb from a preposition.
Do you consider that Shakespeare knew how to write? What about Jane Austin?
David Foster Wallace? Richard Lederer?
When a student mis-matches a pronoun to an antecedent, how can anyone explain the error when the student doesn't have a working vocabulary of the words and their functions? It's like sending a kid to calculus although she missed multiplication.
It's not like anything in your last sentence. That's the great myth, that kids don't know parts of speech. Again, and this is crucial, they don't know the names that have been given to the parts of speech, often times mistakenly.
I don't want to keep harping on this but you illustrated that you too can make a mistake. We all can, even linguists and grammarians can. Descriptions and changes to the names of parts of speech change over time as scientists study how they are actually used in language. That hasn't stopped millions from learning how to write.
These kids have spent the vast majority of their life using all the parts of speech just as they are supposed to be used - in the correct order and with the correct placement. If they didn't know the parts of speech, all that would come out is word salad and their speech would be incomprehensible. We know it isn't.
Dollars to donuts, the pronoun mismatch you think you see doesn't exist, though it might. Would you care to provide an example?
You can breathe easy that I study my compartmentalized little units before I teach them.
That's what I'm afraid of, Lash. Has it not occurred to you that these little units contain large errors? Why do you suppose it is that the education system has produced so many who are woefully ignorant of grammar/language and how they actually work? Did you never partake, read
the Pet Peeves of English thread?
Did you not read one of Gracie's initial threads asking about who/whom? She was given the same old crap by her teacher, who I'm sure was dutifully following her little units.
You are of the Strunk & White generation, or, given your tender age, a direct descendant. When it comes to grammar and knowledge of the workings of the English language, you have been taught flat Earth theories.
How can you explain why a dangling modifier is wrong if the student doesn't understand modifier or subject?
Actually, I couldn't. No one can "explain why a dangling modifier is wrong" because they aren't.
Again, you make an unwarranted assumption about the knowledge these kids have. Here you just repeat the same old things that teachers have been repeating for centuries - much of it to protect themselves as it is to advance kids' learning.
Kids don't understand 'subject' and 'modifier' because they haven't been taught that artificial vocabulary. That is specialized jargon, as distant to most as is the jargon of the medical, legal or academic professions.
But think about it, no, I mean really think about it. If kids didn't INNATELY know subject and modifier, their speech would be incomprehensible. They would not have successfully matched billions of grammatically compatible words over their 6, 8, 12, ... years of speech.
Just a note on DM/misplaced modifiers/... . They are not wrong. We all use them daily, frequently. They fill newspapers and other edited speech and writing. They are one of the little bugbears that allow teachers to waste students' time when there are many many many more interesting and important aspects of language to discuss and study.
Is there any concern wrt these grammar "errors"? Yes, of course. In writing, we take extra care but that doesn't mean we should be anal about a perfectly natural feature of our language. Read some of the prescriptive crap discussing this particular issue and you'll see just how stupid it is.
Can they find the subject without knowing how to find the verb? or how to recognize dependent and independent clauses?
Yes, they can, IF they are given good, thoughtful instruction by teachers who actually know something of how English works. Teachers who actually know what things are important to language. Teachers who are willing to go beyond their "little units".
This takes a teacher who is willing to really consider whether what they are
passing on is the equivalent of grammar phrenology or an actual knowledge of the English language.
If there is a noun and a verb in the dependent clause, how will they understand that that noun cannot be the subject? It's sort of cruel to expect them to be successful writers without giving them a foundational understanding of how writing works.
What is cruel, Lash, is to fill their heads with false notions or arcane ideas. I could probably describe much of what fills the little units that you are required to teach and I know that much of it is simply crap, old wives tales, canards about language that have been passed down over the centuries. Things that have little to nothing to do with language.
Or it's so simplistic that it couldn't possibly be of any real value.
Probably the worst thing teachers pass on is the silly, the truly silly notion that what they teach stands as the mark of good/correct English. It's not explained to students that what they are learning are artificial rules for writing/SFE/SFW that bear a surface resemblance to all the millions upon millions of real rules that they have already learned that guide them in their
These rules for daily speech have to be modified in order to make them conform to the artificial nature of SWE/SFE. Kids' heads are filled with the completely mistaken notion that the rules of SWE/SFE constitute the rules of good/correct English. Which is of course, absolute, unmitigated drivel. [Is my last sentence a dependent clause, Lash?]
Which brings us to my final point for now.
You have to consider that whatever aspects of grammar you impart to your students, no matter how diligent you are, you can't expect that they are being given the full picture of a topic that is incredibly complex. Yet many adults, who we must note, become fair/good/excellent writers never receive instruction beyond this minimal level.
Maybe this will help. Learning that when" there is a noun and a verb in the dependent clause, ... that noun cannot be the subject" makes no more difference to one's level of writing skill than does the knowledge of fast twitch/slow twitch muscles make to one's ability to walk or run.
Not having had the advantage of your little unit to remind me, I admit that I had to think about that rule for a moment or two and if I ever knew it, I can assure you that it figures prominently not at all in my decisions about what I write. Nor does it make one bit of difference to any writer, anywhere. That's not how our natural, innate internal grammars work.
Which brings us back to Shakespeare. You may find this shocking but Will knew nothing of grammar. He certainly had no knowledge of much of the "grammar" to be found in those little units.