Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Common English

I know I make mistakes when using English. Those mistakes usually are not out of ignorance; they just happen in speech. You have probably had that happen too. Your mind is thinking one thought, your mouth gets in a hurry and speaks the wrong verb tense or a plural verb with a singular subject.

But it is important that as educators, we speak the very best grammar that we can. Speech is important.

All semester, I have listened to, and actually thought I had wrongly heard, college students regularly use "bad grammar." I've heard "she done," "I've did," "schools is." I've even heard a college instructor (reading teacher with MA degree) regularly use a singular subject with a plural verb and a plural subject with a singular verb.

Hearing these grammar discretions is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. Oddly, I don't feel that way about everyone I hear using poor grammar. But these people are in college. They should know better! And if that's not enough, they are going to be teachers!

Oh, and another grammar blunder...the teacher regularly uses the word corporating (I don't think that's even a word) for cooperating. I know I mispronounce words too, both in haste and in ignorance. I just hope that when I do so in ignorance, someone alerts me to my mistake.

Teachers are supposed to be models of accurate speech. And when we aren't, I think we bring a sort of shame on our profession.


Jeff Miller said...

(tongue firmly planted in cheek)
You're speaking as if words mean something and clear communication is possible when proper usage is applied! I'll have to think about that....

Seriously, thanks for the exhortation. I am in a business where I witness the English language bludgeoned to the point of expiration on a daily basis. It doesn't seem to matter to the masses.

Thanks again

Patti said...

I agree, Janie. I don't claim to use grammar perfectly, but I'm always willing to be corrected! I think one of the worst testimonies to homeschooling can be bad grammar. We ought to be striving to do all things well.