Monday, February 23, 2015

Grammar and Style Online Course


Writing effectively is a genuine interest of mine. To me, it's also a lifelong process and journey. I guess that's why I chose to major in English in college, and why, when I'm choosing which online courses to take in my free time, I prioritize the writing ones.

Week one of edX's English Grammar and Style course consists of the basics. The results of the first quiz reminded me that my writing flaws tend to revolve around the passive voice and the usage of me versus I. I especially liked the course's differentiations between grammar (the way sentences are constructed; underlying system of rules of a language) and syntax (arrangement and inter-relations among words in a sentence), and denotation (literal meaning of a word) and connotation (idea or feeling a word invokes in addition to its denotation). Le mot juste—the intensely right word—is particularly important to me; using the right word in the right moment and context is very rewarding.

Writing is like watercolor painting (another of my interests). Every stroke of the brush is a word or sentence. The paint is the tone of the piece. My writing is like my painting in that they're both straightforward, descriptive, accurate, and planned in advance. I usually paint from real images or things, and I usually only write nonfiction. Adding layers of paint to a watercolor painting adds depth to the art, while paragraphs build an argument or story. Professor D'Agostino emphasizes that grammar (related to the word glamour) is about style. Likewise, I find well-tailored writing as appealing as a beautiful painting.

Week one ends by asking us to submit our favorite word. Apparently serendipity and love are the most popular among the students. My favorite words are delight, smitten, altruism, and love.

What are your favorite words?

(Image from DTTSP)

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