Writing Glitch #131

Today’s (first) glitch:


Alas, these teachers who gave the speaker such a love of the English language failed to instill an understanding of why we shouldn’t use a word if we don’t know what it means.

(As it says on a t-shirt, some people use big words just to make themselves sound more photosynthesis.)

Does your love of English embarrass or humiliate you when you read things online? No? Then you’re not mortified.

I’m not going to try to guess (no, that should not be try and guess, as if try and guess were separate actions) what the original writer intended, but I think appalled would be a good word with which to replace mortified. So would outraged — or annoyed, if a milder emotion is wanted.

“Thanks to the teachers who instilled in me such a love of English that I’m perpetually annoyed when reading the internet.”

(Technically, no one reads the internet itself; they read things on the internet.)




About Thomas Weaver

I’m a writer and editor who got into professional editing almost by accident years ago when a friend from university needed someone to copyedit his screenplay about giant stompy robots (mecha). Having discovered that I greatly enjoy this kind of work, I’ve been putting my uncanny knack for grammar and punctuation, along with an eclectic mental collection of facts, to good use ever since as a Wielder of the Red Pen of Doom. I'm physically disabled, and for the past several years, I’ve lived with my smugly good-looking twin Paul, who writes military science fiction and refuses to talk about his military service because he can’t. Sometimes Paul and I collaborate on stories, and sometimes I just edit whatever he writes. It's worked out rather well so far. My list of non-writing-related jobs from the past includes librarian, art model, high school teacher, science lab gofer… Although I have no spouse or offspring to tell you about, I do have six cats. (The preferred term is "Insane Cat Gentleman.") I currently spend my time blogging, reading, editing, and fending off cats who like my desk better than my twin’s.
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4 Responses to Writing Glitch #131

  1. Partly of this is because they’re pulling grammar out of schools and replacing it with ‘Language Arts.’ It is failing, my grammar is horrible and I work constantly to overcome the deficiencies of my public school education.

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I was in school, we had language arts, but grammar was part of that. We even had to learn how to diagram sentences. (I found that a waste of time, but many of my classmates benefited from having a way to visualize how the parts of speech work together.)

      I don’t know what the solution is. I attended public schools — in Kentucky, of all places! — and nevertheless managed to learn good grammar and punctuation, but I didn’t learn those things from teachers. (Okay, I learned the official definitions of some parts of speech in school, but as I’ve said many times, knowing how to use a gerund correctly is far more important that knowing its name.) I’m not the best example, though, because… Well, my brain doesn’t work “correctly.” (Translation: I’m not neurotypical, and I learn things more easily than the average person, so the way I think is “wrong.”) Maybe most people DO need to spend time in school each day hearing about and practicing good grammar in order to understand it, and if schools aren’t providing that instruction, the students don’t learn. I know that some schools have given up teaching grammar and whatnot because they think ‘the kids aren’t gonna learn it anyway’ (and woe unto the ART teacher who thinks that all students are capable of learning if given the kind of instruction that best suits their learning style — none of my business, I was told, and as the school’s assistant principal told me, “They got a right to their own dialect.”)

      Liked by 1 person

      • My Honors English teacher added grammar to the curriculum, so my mom called the school to praise her and she got in trouble. The next day grammar was removed from the curriculum. I never learned to diagram a sentence, what saves me is that I do okay instinctually from reading a lot. But I couldn’t tell you WHY I do some of it. I’m thinking of auditing a grammar class from a local community college to learn this stuff. My poor editor EARNS his money with me!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. danaethinks says:

    I have been embarrassed FOR someone on the internet, but mortified is a bit extreme.

    Liked by 1 person

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