This is not, they tell me, fun stuff.
And I’ll admit that putting together their quiz the night before, trying to come up with examples for them to cull for nouns, verbs, and prepositions, subjects, objects, and predicates, I had been at a loss to add a luster to this most staid of assessment practices. My grammar professor in university – author of this terrific defense of being a stickler for English proficiency – composed worksheets and quizzes that were quirky glimpses of his personality I remember grinning at in homework and major tests, and I often like to do the same in my own material. But with the students’ blogs so rife with examples of original, captivating prose, I took the opportunity to piece the quiz’s examples together from their own words.
It took thirty seconds for a few smirks to turn to giggles and quickly exchanged glances between rows, and for a minute – during a grammar quiz – the class collectively grinned.
Here is the test in their own words:
1. If I peer out of my grated window, I can see the women outside the prison gates. 2. I remember my western films and drawer full of t-shirts. 3. Twenty-five years later, I came back, this time with a camera in hand. 4. She was struggling to run the house while looking after small children and living with an alcoholic husband. 5. The problem with being truthful is that it doesn’t always sell. 6. Everyone in this room is one of two things: a little kid or a grown up little kid. 7. There is no point in trying to barricade the city against German tanks that can easily blow the lovely French capital into a heap of rubble. 8. Our fingers had blisters, our voices got hoarse and our muscles ached…but it was worth it. 9. Without music, the inner me would dry out. 10. This universal language cuts through all barriers of time, place, race and culture. 11. Only now as adults, do we begin to understand the search for answers to the questions that matter most. 12. I stood up for what I believed in, and I was not afraid to fight to get it. 13. Our hope and determination led us to several victories, and at first it looked like all of our aims would be met. 14. I felt a surge of warmth run down my arm and into his and I knew that I did not hold him accountable for the actions of others as he had the courage to ask for forgiveness. 15. It was dreadful, knowing that our country had abandoned us, and if we didn’t catch a plane in the next 3 hours, we would be killed. 16. The government was very powerful, and gave us a daily terror. 17. Once Gibson found out about the Broadcaster, they called me up and I went out and talked to Tim McCarty and we wrote up a contract that day, which stated that I would help McCarty with designing the guitar, and it put my name the guitar as well. 18. We are a team and we must remain together. 19. Magic is the feeling of the beauty of the unknown, like listening to music, painting, stories, and art in general. 20. A mirror, a single pane of shimmering reflective glass, had started it all.