Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Are You Smarter Than A Second Grader?

So there I am, sitting in Ms. Smith's second grade classroom today on my volunteer time. She is talking about "a" and "an". I'm smiling.

"So, if you have the words 'excited chipmunk', would you use 'a' or 'an'.?" Still smiling. I knew the answer.
One boy raises his hand. "You would use 'an'."
Ms. Smith: "That's right. Do you know why?"
Little boy: "Because it sounds good." Everyone laughs. My smile is starting to slip, because that is my answer too.
Ms. Smith: "That's true, but it is 'an' because the first letter of the next word is a vowel. If it were a consonant it would be 'a'." If you look closely, my smile is still there, but it looks just a little plastered-on at this point.

I did not know that.
Seriously. Probably every other writer out there knows that rule, but I must have missed that week in second grade because I swear that this is the first time I have heard this interesting piece of information. I hate it when my kids' teachers ask me a grammar or spelling question for the simple reason that I probably don't know the answer.

I'm thinking that this doesn't completely doom my career as a writer. I view myself as more of a conduit for ideas than a putter-together-of-words. My spelling stinks and my grammar is worse. I only learned to spell grammar correctly recently. I do try to pick up things as I go, but I apologize in advance to anyone who has to work with me. Thank God for spellcheck, hands-on agents, critiquers with an English background and editors.

On this date: In 1919 the Grand Canyon was designated as a National Park.

1 comment:

Julie_c said...

Wow - you didn't know that rule? I think it says a lot about your confidence level that you owned up to it. :)

The retelling was hilarious!