1.1 How The Guthridge Grammar System Began

1.1 How The Guthridge Grammar System Began

In 2003, Dr. G.’s eight-year-old stepson, Guy, arrived in the United States knowing two words of English: daddy and snow. He was in the fourth grade.

The teacher started him on a second-grade grammar book. He came home excited to do his first homework. His mother, Noi, translated.

The assignment involved circling the nouns in several short passages. The book informed him a noun is “a person, place, thing, or idea.” The first selection was:

The girl was doing her homework. She was reading a book. It was a rainy day.

He circled homeworkbook, and day. But he also circled she, because “she” is a person, and it, because “it” is a thing.

Ironically, many of Dr. G.’s college students made the same mistake.

Not until page 29 would Guy learn what a pronoun is. But he could not learn what a pronoun is unless he knew what a noun is. And vice versa.


Guy was bewildered. He looked like a hamster on a wheel in a cage.  

Dr. G. felt so bad for him that he set out to simplify how to learn grammar. Dr. G. wanted to take the frustrating circularity out of the process by making the process linear. Students would begin without needing to know any grammar. Nothing would be assumed.

Dr. G. figured it would take six weeks. After all, he had started on something similar when he lived in Gambell, Alaska.

It took six and a half years.