I’ve been teaching ESL (English for as a Second Language) for high school students from Taiwan for the summer school. One day, we had a lesson on relative clauses. I said, “Write a sentence using a relative clause starting with ‘who’.” This is what one of my students wrote.
“My father who is my dad said,‘….’”
Um….yeah, it is grammatically correct, but is this relative clause really needed here!? I think we gotta make a relative clause to feel a little more useful, don’t you think!? But I had a good laugh!
Well, do you want to make me laugh some more? If you do, then please comment on this post and give me an example of “a useless use of a relative clause.” I will pick the best one which is supreme. Got it?
For the Discourse Analysis class I’m taking at the grad school, we were assigned to interview composition teachers to discuss how teachers should evaluate and grade students’ writings. We found that most professors use a rubric in order to grade their students’ works as objectively and fairly as possible. It may look something like this:
Flow of thoughts……20%
Grammar, spellings and punctuations……20%
But one of my classmates said, “Since I’ve been teaching Freshman Comp this semester, it puzzles me that some writings are not that great or attractive even though it is 100% according to the rubric.” True, true. Then our professor replied, “That is possible indeed. So I use to give maximum of 3% for the ‘Sox Effect’ points.” “What’s the Sox Effect?” I asked. “Oh, it’s an idiom to express that something is so surprisingly impressive that it knocks your socks off.” I see…that’s “You knocked my socks off!” points. But not all writers knock off all readers’ socks alike. Readers have their own tastes and it’s rather subjective. Maybe that’s why she only gave 3%. Yet, “Sox Effect” is probably the most important element for a professional writers to gain their fans continuously.
Then I remembered about Mr. Haruki Murakami’s comment on well-written stories quoted in Professor Uchida’s blog. Let me re-quote part of it here.