Monday, May 10, 2010

Never Say Never

One of the most unfortunate outcomes of the Sandra Bullock and Jesse James situation is that the chances of Sandra and I becoming friends have dramatically decreased. Because Jesse’s motorcycle shop is not far from my house, he and Sandra lived in my neighborhood, and I always imagined Sandra and I striking up a conversation over pedicures and then hitting it off and becoming close friends. When I first heard about Jesse’s infidelities, I even fantasized about being able to be there for Sandra and help counsel her through the trauma.

Of course, I would want to tell her to leave him. From my experience, it’s just so hard to get back the trust after an infidelity. I mean, I know it’s not impossible: Bill and Hillary are still together. But, most people can’t seem to make it work, so my instinct would be to tell Sandra to run (but stay in my neighborhood).

English teachers often find themselves in a similar situation to the one I was in when I was giving imaginary advice to my fantasy friend Sandra. They have a hard time resisting making blanket statements about rules- even though there may be exceptions.

For example, many of my students have told me that they were taught to never start a sentence with the word because.

I understand why teachers tell that to their students. Often, when students begin a sentence with because, they don’t complete the sentence:

Sandra, I don’t think you should get back together with Jesse. Because you deserve someone who appreciates how truly amazing you are.

Now, take a close look at this:

Because you deserve someone who appreciates how truly amazing you are.

It’s not a complete sentence because it doesn’t complete a thought.

So, if teachers tell students never to start a sentence with the word because, students will never make that error. Problem solved.

But, the truth is that we can start a sentence with the word because; we just need make sure we have all the correct parts. We need to have an introductory phrase that begins with because, a comma followed by a complete sentence:

Because you deserve better, you should leave Jesse.

And, although he's my guilty pleasure celebrity crush, I am thinking Sandra and Keanu.

1 comment:

Talli Roland said...

Shame about you and Sandra. Still, it might be for the best. Because she strikes me as perhaps being high-maintenance, even though she cultivates a down-to-earhh appearance. (See what I did there?) :)