Grammar Workshops

A Grammar Workshop for Writers

Madhu Kaza led this Spring's Grammar Workshop Series for students. This series served as a creative laboratory where students review grammar basics, experiment with grammar rules, seek personalized grammar counsel and gain self-awareness of their own stylistic habits---all toward the goal of becoming more effective writers. Each workshop included playful, imaginative writing exercises that helped students re-engage the serious work of academic writing with greater clarity and control.


Attention to the sentence provided the foundation of the workshops. We reviewed grammar rules not simply in the service of correctness, but with the goal of creating lively, engaging prose. By crafting and revising sentences (both our own and those of published authors) we learned how sentence structure works and how to manipulate it for greater rhetorical and stylistic effect. We considered common obstacles to good writing including problems of passive voice, misuse of commas, dangling modifiers and more.


Students’ own concerns, doubts and questions were central to our work. The latter workshops, in particular, focused on student writing, and students were encouraged to bring in academic essays-in-progress. With gentleness and good humor, we learned to see where our own prose needs work and gained flexibility and confidence in our written style.


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