(virtually) Back to School.
English language has never been a strong point for me. It was something I found difficult at school despite loving to write.
Grammar, editing and proofreading are beyond doubt my weakest areas. When I left school, still believing I was going to be a professional football but studying computer science, as something to do while I waited for my call up, I thought my worries were over with English. Oh how I was wrong.
Running start ups for all but two of the past nine years since University (wow has it really been that long), I have written a lot. Countless business plans, proposals and board reports, along with the daily smaller things like blog posts, emails, feedback notes, performance reviews, and project outlines. Every time wishing I was stronger in English, often embarrassed when mistakes were pointed out. I still feel bad for Michelle Cooper and then Steven Price, from Northstar Equity Investors here in the North-East of England, who often got my first drafts of long (ok really long) error filled plans.
Today however I decided to take the first steps on improving this area of life. Inspired by my wife, who is a wonderful writer, and who has really encouraged me to get writing for fun, I am starting an edX course in English. English Grammar and Style from the University of Queensland to be exact.
I am a little sad that it isn’t a live course as I don’t think my essays are going to be marked but it was the best available and I didn’t want to wait months for a current one. I know be then I will have moved on to the next thing.
So what have I learnt in week one. Firstly it turns out I am officially terrible at grammar. In the Diagnostic Test I got just 4 out of 18 correct. Below is question one. I had to correct the sentence at the top. My answer is in the red square.
My main mistakes in the questions were around sentence structure. I tended to make them too long when it should have stopped, or I left sentence fragments which it didn’t have a verb. I also struggled with homophones (words that sound the same) such as principle vs principal.
I am sure this blog post is full of all these mistakes, I have a long way to go, but the more you write the better you get according to the course leader.
My favourite quote from today’s set of lectures was from a note about about the writing-thinking-learning connection:
‘How do I know what I think until I’ve seen what I’ve said?
Part of this course involves creating a writing journal so I will be using this blog as my journal along side other posts over the next couple of weeks.