Teacher attempts to school Trump on grammar, beclowns herself
CNN, The New York Times, The Independent, USA Today, Esquire, et al. have gleefully jumped on a Facebook post by a Democrat, a retired high school English teacher, who "corrected" the president's grammar. "I have never, ever, received a letter with this many silly mistakes," Mason said.
You have to hunt to find a readable image of her markup to judge her editing for yourself. There's one here.
Her "corrections" are baffling.
Granted, the letter capitalizes state, nation, federal, and president. I don't like such capitalizations, either. But that's the way official federal prose is written. As a self-styled expert on English grammar, Ms. Mason should at least be aware of the Government Printing Office Style Manual. It's used for all official federal publications, as Aaron Keller, lawyer and ex-English teacher, explains.
"She also opined that while the letter was probably written by staffers, the president signed it. (Has she ever heard of Autopen?)"
Ms. Mason even objects to "accountability of Federal agencies," writing below the phrase, "specific agency"? Ma'am, would your understanding have been improved had the president's writer enumerated the agencies that may be affected by the new law (and you can bet that more than one is affected)? What if said enumeration were incomplete? Would that have prompted you to issue another "correction"?
This story should be an embarrassment to English teachers everywhere – just another error-filled diatribe against the president. No wonder all the bastions of the liberal MSM printed it.
Henry Percy is the nom de guerre of a writer in Arizona. He may be reached at saler.50d[at]gmail.com.
Deputy Editor Drew Belsky adds: On top of what H.P. notes, this professional editor sees a lot to roll his eyes at.
The highlighting of "I" clauses reeks of robotic adherence to Education Establishment diktats to the detriment of common sense. Why wouldn't the president use the first-person singular pronoun in a letter detailing a number of things he himself did? How would Yvonne Mason have him rewrite phrases expressing the thought "I did this" in a way that does anything but obfuscate that thought?
Wave those concerns away. We can't have people using the first-person singular pronoun. Yvonne Mason locuta est.
Worse is "OMG this is WRONG!," so beloved by the New York Times that the paper headlined its feature with it. (Never mind the obnoxiousness of a putative language authority using "OMG" in a professional capacity.) Even if the capitalization were an error, that's the writer's understanding of the language. Why throw a fit at consistency? Imagine a paper from a high-schooler who misspells "Fahrenheit" as "Farenheit" – and progressively nastier corrections scrawled every time the editing teacher catches the same error. Ridiculous.
Finally: Have y'all tried grammar style check? Any editor (and teacher...?) deserving of his paycheck turns off "grammar style check" the second after he installs his word-processor. This is one of those jobs a robot can't do better than a human being. Or at least better than most human beings.