Occasionally, when I buy a new pair of pants, I find a small piece of paper in one of the pockets. On that piece of paper it will say something like this: “Inspected by #38”.
Quality control is the process of checking goods (things, like pants, that are produced, or manufactured) when they are produced to make sure the quality is good enough.
When I find that little piece of paper, I know that someone inspected (examined, or looked at) my pants before they were sent to the store to make sure they were good enough to sell.
We could also call the inspector a monitor. A monitor is someone who watches an activity or situation to make sure everything is the way it is supposed to be. For example, an election monitor is someone who watches an election to make sure it is fair and everyone has an equal opportunity to vote.
in The Informed English Student #1 (Portuguese version / English Version) – I wrote that there are two ways to “know” a language (as Dr. McQuillan would say).
One way is to acquire a language by experiencing it naturally; the other way is to learn a language by studying hard and learning rules.
I also wrote that most of our fluency (ability) comes from acquired language, not learned language.
Is the language we learn helpful? Yes, but only at certain times. The language that we learn helps us …
1. when we are taking a grammar test
2. when we are editing what we have written.
To say it another way, learned language is helpful, but only as a monitor.
Why is this true? Scientific research tells us that there are three requirements for using learned language.
First, we have to know the rule. And that is difficult to do because language is very complex and there are hundreds of rules.
Second, we have to be focused (pay careful attention) on form (the way something looks or sounds).
Third, we have to have time to think about it. Usually the only time all three of these requirements are satisfied is when we are taking a grammar test or editing something we have written.
There is no substitute for (nothing is as good as) reading and listening to acquire language. None of the good writers that I know think about rules when they write.
Mostly they know their writing is good by the way it “feels” or sounds.
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