CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 27, 1997
Now that most of the polemics have died down about the proposed teaching of Ebonics in our schools, I would like to throw in my two cents. I am a teacher, black and most definitely against the use of Ebonics in any school system. I have been living in Europe for the past 10 years and could never imagine the English teaching other English through the use of Cockney, or the French through Titi Parisian. One thing that they do do in Europe, that we don't, is teach grammar. I know many Americans would say that is not true, but until tenses are taught to every student in the United States, there will always be confusion as to what to do with the English language.
August 22, 1986 |
Life is full of paradoxes, real and imagined. One of them is that, having living with paradoxes for however long we've lived, many of us are nonetheless surprised when introduced to a new one. Thus I fully expect that many people will be shocked when I state a paradox that besets the efforts of schools and teachers to promote genuine literacy: One of the greatest enemies of real literacy education in our schools is the systematic teaching of English grammar. The grammar lobby has a long history.
May 14, 2002
After having read the opinions on the use of the word "like," I'd like to mention another annoying issue concerning grammar (Commentary, May 5, and letters, May 9). Since when have the words "me" and "him" become subjects of a sentence, such as, "Me and him saw the whole thing"? At one time scriptwriters used this ploy to indicate that a character was uneducated or crude, but now you hear our smartest teenagers saying, "Me and him applied to Yale." You hear it in commercials, TV programs, movies and news interviews.
August 7, 1995 |
Our new dog, Lili, the Doberman pup, is incorrigible. She scoops up socks, shoes, panties and anything else loose and dashes through the house with them, defying my wife and me to grab them out of her maw. "Snatch it out of her mouth and hit her with it!" I keep shouting at my wife, who is madly but unsuccessfully chasing the dog about. "I can't catch her!" she screams in frustration. I am even more frustrated than she, being unable to jump up and run after the dog.
April 1, 1993 |
People constantly call me to double-check the grammar in their academic, personal and business writing. Over the years I have noticed that some kinds of grammar, punctuation and usage rules cause more angst and confusion than others. So I have compiled a rundown of some of the most common problems and the keys to their mysteries. Homonyms (words that sound alike but have different meanings) are troublesome, especially it's and its, you're and your, who's and whose, and they're, their and there.
April 4, 1999
Now I know why the lower grades are no longer called grammar school. HANNAH OMAN Culver City