Bad grammar is all around us

“Him and me are going to visit…”

Me and my friends just pop in the car…”

No one is faster than us…”

Do you detect something wrong in these honest-to-gosh quotes?

The first was said by a young lady who graduated from Youngstown State University in December, got her teaching degree and is employed as a teacher.

Would you believe the second is said by a plump young lady in a commercial for the Ford Focus?

And the third was in a commercial for automobile windshield glass, and the lady was a grandmother who should have known better!

Bad grammar

Regular readers — surely there are a few — know I’m almost fanatical about English and grammar, and I physically wince when I hear them, especially when they’re repeated and repeated. And just think how much money someone is making to come up with these brilliant grammatical boners. They apparently don’t even know they are errors, which makes the situation doubly disturbing.

It would seem this is not just a local or area illness. Marilyn Mick, my late sister’s daughter-in-law and my good friend (she and Joey are coming from New England to visit Aug. 16), sends me the most wonderful clippings from the Boston Globe, which appears to still be a newspaper of worth. Marilyn knows my interests and in the latest collection there is a marvelous opinion by Kara Miller, who teaches at Boston College.

She notes, “When you teach English to college students, you quickly realize two things. First, many seem to have received little writing instruction in high school. The second thing English teachers realize is that correcting students’ papers is tremendously time consuming.”

She asks, “Why do so many students come to college without a command of fundamentals? If it takes me all weekend to correct 40 papers, how can a high school English teacher begin to tackle 120 papers (four sections, 30 students per section) in a detail-oriented way?”

Assessment

Her assessment: “The inability of many students to write (or speak) clear cogent sentences has costly implications for the digital age.”

She adds, “Inadequate writing skills have led to concern in colleges across the country. In 2007, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, found that just 24 percent of 12th-graders scored proficient or better.

“The same year, more than 80 percent of students at the City University of New York had to enroll in remedial courses in reading, writing and math.”

She says, “When Massachusetts implemented a teachers’ test 12 years ago, the public was shocked to discover that 30 percent of prospective teachers failed the literacy portion.”

And we keep building bigger and bigger schools and sports facilities. Big buildings do not make better students.

Is it possible that teaching has been buried in the rubble of the 3-rs? (My opinion, not Farm and Dairy’s!)

* * *

And you thought I was only interested in animals and birds!

How about that storm on the July 21? The play of light in the north before the storm moved south was almost like the aurora borealis, and I watched in awe — and a little bit of fear — as the entire sky throbbed.

When I did go to bed, the lightning was so fierce I pulled the blind down so as not to see it, but the thunder seemingly slamming the roof wouldn’t let me sleep. I guess I finally did, and no damage was done. Morning found 2 inches of rain in the rain gauge.

* * *

On the morning of July 17, the barn was singularly silent. Surely the swallows hadn’t gone already. Last year, they left Aug. 25, so this was strange. Guess what? Two days later, they all — and I do mean all — returned to start their second brood and we are now in the midst of that.

* * *

A dog may be man’s best friend — but the horse wrote history…

– Author Unknown

About the Author

A lifelong resident of the Mahoning Valley, Janie Jenkins retired in 1987 as a feature writer and columnist at the Youngstown Vindicator. In June of that same year, she started writing her column, "On My Mind" for Farm and Dairy. She loves all animals and is an accomplished equestrienne. Local history is also one of her loves, and her home, the former Southern Park Stables, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. More Stories by Janie Jenkins

Leave a Comment

Receive emails as this discussion progresses.

eNewsletter

Get our Top Stories in Your Inbox

Recent News