Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Grammar and Words - Important?

How important is correct grammar?

Should parents require good grammar and correct word usage by their children? And by themselves? Should radio jocks and newspaper reporters use good grammar? Do listeners and readers even notice the errors?

Unfortunately, poor grammar starts early in our schools. And I don't mean just with the students. When I visited a third-grade classroom at Dean Street School in Woodstock in 1997, I heard the teacher say something like, "Me and him went to the library." What?

I knew I had not misunderstood what she had said. And about three weeks later, the same teacher said during an IEP and in front of 10 school district employees, two parents, a professional, full-time, educational advocate and a psychologist, something like, "Him and I did (something)."

Is it any wonder that our kids grow up using such expressions? Should they be corrected every time?

Do students and other listeners object to incorrect grammar by radio DJ's, TV "personalities", and reporters? Do they even recognize the errors?

In a recent newspaper article the past tense of "sink" (and I don't mean kitchen ...) became "sunk". The conjugation is sink, sank, sunk. And a reporter failed to use the possessive case preceding a word ending in -ing. The sentence was something like "... because of him paying ..." It should have read, "...because of his paying..."

OK, so the reporter might, in haste, make an occasional error of that type. But isn't it an editor's job to catch it and correct it?

Or do editors even read reporters' copy today before it is published?

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