Talking Grammar . . . in the Wall Street Journal

Ever wonder why grammar matters? You may find my column for the Wall Street Journal worth a glance:

Welcome Back, My Ungrammatical Students

8 comments:

  1. Just read your Op-Ed piece in WSJ - I wish college students were receiving remedial English. I interview students with college degrees who can't even form a paragraph.

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  2. Can't access WSJ article w/o subscribing

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  3. 6th paragraph of the article: "Based on three decades of teaching English prep courses, I can assure you this is a safe supposition since no more than one in a hundred remedial students can define the term 'clause.'"
    Doesn't this sentence contain an ungrammatically dangling participle? (The antecedent of "based" is "I," but you are not based on three decades of teaching, even if perhaps by metonymy you are because your opinion is.)

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    1. Anonymous September 4, 2013 at 12:47 PM

      makes sense to me.

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    2. "Based on" could easily mean the preposition "after" or some other introductory word like participle "relying on..."; I think antecedents have more to do with pronoun agreement. Don't you need an adjective in front of "dangling participle," a term thought of as a whole? What in the world does your pedantic use of the word "metonymy" mean in this context?

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  4. God Bless you Mr. Goldblatt for this commentary. I've started a running meme on my Facebook page called "Grammar Police!" Every time I find a grammatical error of extreme proportion in a printed (usually news) source, I put it on my Facebook page for my friends and family to enjoy. While teaching our students better grammar from the start is certainly a noble endeavor on your part, I'd argue that we need to hold our professional writers to a higher standard, too. There should be a place for public shaming (beyond just my personal Facebook page) for every news writer (or book writer or what have you) and editor that allows horrible grammar to make it to web pages, magazines and newspapers. What's the point of encouraging proper grammar in school if students turn around and read sloppy grammar on CNN.com or FoxNews.com or in Time Magazine or the Wall Street Journal?

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  5. I wonder why you selected only 4 dead black men as your examples. Their era is not ours. Their style is not ours. Are you addressing only black men? Not women? Not non-black men? Are only black men in the remedial English classes? What is it you infer? Marj Helmer mhelmer.author@gmail.com Faribault, MN

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    1. You meant "imply," not "infer." You, Marj, are doing the inferring.

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