I'm sorry but I can not get very upset about current minor mistakes in grammar. There is an even greater problem. I have now been retired from college teaching for ten years but I recall that in my last five years on the faculty I had to quit giving essay tests because not only did my students find it almost impossible to comprehend the written question but also because they could not answer the questions, due to the fact that they simply could not write down their thoughts in English that made any sense. Their most common complaint against me when I returned their papers was, "Why did you mark this wrong? You knew what I meant!" To which I would reply, "Since I cannot read minds, how else could I know what you meant. Your written answer certainly does not indicate that you know the correct answer to the question. It does not even contain a complete sentence." |
I taught science (physics) and my students would tell me that I should not be giving them low grades because their English was inadequate since this was not an English class. I tried to explain that physics essentially consisted of a number of concepts which only had value if they could be communicated to another person correctly. This did not mollify them.
This is partly the reason why I retired early.
----- and this hear is a problem which I ain't got no understandin of nohow. Ya know?
Check out my web page at:
> Date: Mon, 8 Oct 2007 16:55:22 +1300
> From: email@example.com
> Subject: Re: the grammar of spam
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Hi Judy
> Your continued interest in grammar is welcome (not only because I won a copy
> of your wonderful T-shirt book in a competition you generously ran earlier
> this year). But I think your justification of the apostrophe in "Working
> with the Pro's" is too kind. That could be a plural form in only two cases
> I can think of:
> - if the apostrophe took the place of a missing letter, which is unusual
> in a word of one syllable, or
> - if "pro" is an abbreviation.
> English has an inconsistent practice in forming plurals of words ending in
> "o", with some such as "heroes" signalling the correct pronunciation by
> adding an "e" (which in Dan Quayle's orthography can also occur in singular
> forms such as "tomatoe"), and others such as "pianos" not bothering.
> One of the few times I can remember seeing an apostrophe used in formal
> English in the plural form of a normal o-ending word is in reports of Don
> Imus' celebrated remark "nappy headed ho's" (New York Times transcription) .
> Of course the phrase creates problems on a number of levels, not least
> because "nappy headed hoes" would mean something even weirder, but even so
> it seems to be another case of a greengrocer's apostrophe.
> Don Sweet
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Judy Seigel" <email@example.com>
> To: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Sent: Monday, October 08, 2007 10:28 AM
> Subject: Re: the grammar of spam
> > > My pet peeve lately has been the inappropriate use of the possessive
> form of
> > > a noun instead of the plural form. I just received an email yesterday
> > > Phase One, the digital back makers, with the following heading:
> > >
> > > Capture One 4: Working with the Pro's
> > Judy Seigel writes:
> > I don't know all the rules offhand, but there are some cases where plurals
> > of, for instance, proper nouns ending in "o" or other vowels, are
> > correctly spelled with an apostrophe, so THIS example of terribleness may
> > be acceptable, or nearly so. I suspect if we weren't so beset with
> > (especially) "it's" when we mean "its," as in "we love the list for its
> > variety and atmosphere" -- and it's written, "we love the list for it's
> > variety and atmosphere" we'd be more accepting of, say, an apostrophe
> > after "o" in the plural.
> > But if the message is "We had dinner with the Shapiro's last night," or
> > "The trouble with this country is that there's only one Chicago; we need a
> > country FULL of Chicago's," I myself would tend to use an apostrophe ---
> > because if you follow the rules of -- the word "phonics" comes to mind, I
> > think that's it -- by the time the word "phonics" entered the language, I
> > was in high school studying French, and they taught us rules of
> > pronunciation according to the spelling -- the pronunciation of "pros"
> > would NOT be the way we actually say the word.
> > As I recall the rules of pronunciation, if we spelled the plural of "pro"
> > simply as "pros" it could be pronounced "prahss" as in "prostitute," or
> > "pross," to rhyme with gross. In any event, it wouldn't be pronounced
> > "prose" which is the way we actually pronounce the word. True, English
> > spelling is infinitely irregular, which makes room for many mistakes, but
> > adding an apostrophe to a plural of a word ending in "o" is more
> > defensible than many others.
> > As for McDonald's, I believe that's meant to mean the restaurant of Mr.
> > MacDonald (tho I think the name was chosen abritrarily... that's still the
> > intent).
> > > I notice this particular mistake popping up quite frequently on the
> > > I guess good grammar is optional nowadays. One clue might be the answer
> > > received from my youngest daughter the other night when I asked her if
> > > knew the difference between an infinitive and a gerund.
> > So ask her if she knows the difference between a gerund & a participle...
> > that's the one I keep losing... (AFAIK an infinitive in English begins
> > with "to," as in "to pontificate", but for a long time competitive
> > grammarians declared a split infinitive bad form ["I promise to not
> > pontificate about grammar"]. Fortunately that, among other such rules, is
> > now scotched (the prohibition, not the pontification).
> > But fashions in education change... and even the best schools are subject
> > to fashion. If the fashion at your school was/is content rather than "free
> > spirit" you were lucky. I have a friend who went to a fancy private
> > school where the fashion was printing, not "palmer method" of handwriting,
> > which involved rote copying, which supposedly "stifled their creativity."
> > To this day, circa 80 years old, friend's "handwriting" is a form of
> > chicken scratching, except less legible.
> > Meanwhile, I promise to not pontificate about grammar again, at least not
> > today.
> > Judy