Grammar GirlThis week I got a chance to talk with Grammar Girl (Mignon Fogarty) on the phone. She was interviewing me for her Behind the Grammar podcast. The interview we did was for episode 18 of her show. I have been a big promoter of her podcast and her whole network since I first heard about her over 4 years ago.

I mentioned the interview on Facebook and a friend commented about her own personal “Grammar Girl” in high school. I too had my own Grammar Girl in college.

English never was one of my strong subjects (come to think of it, I don’t know that I had any except skipping classes). I guess I speak English well on a basic level, but knowing the rules and making the right choices on tests always eluded me. High school English did not go well and neither did college.

Since then I have had good friends who have helped me clean up several usage errors. Learning a foreign language has been a huge benefit too. However, before I got to the point of getting help I had to take freshman English in college. Mrs. B was my tormentor teacher.

I sat on the last row to the teacher’s left. We were in alphabetical order and Penny O sat in front of me. Mrs. B allowed us to grade each other’s quizzes. We were welcome to trade papers with anyone around us. I found a sympathetic soul in Penny, so always chose to trade papers with her. I never remember Penny ever making a mistake on her quizzes. However, she almost ran out of ink each time she had to correct mine.

The fact that she never missed a question impressed me enough to soften the blow of how much work she had to do to grade my quizzes. She would turn around with a very sympathetic look on her face as if to say “Oh, you poor boy.”

Maybe I am the reason Penny became an English teacher. Perhaps she couldn’t stand the thought that there were other people in the world like me.

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