Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Things You Learned in School...

If you've known a kid, had a kid, or been a kid, you know at some point in your school years there comes a time when you hear something and you say to yourself "Why do I have to learn this?  I'm never going to use it!"

Most of the girls I knew said that about gym class and many of them said that about algebra.  My daughter said it about algebra.  I said it about geometry!  But never, ever, did I ever say it about spelling and grammar.  My mom said swearing was a sign of a poor vocabulary, and I did NOT want a poor vocabulary.  No way.

Now that I'm a quilter and a knitter, that geometry is coming in really handy!  And I use math and algebra all the time, at work and at home.  Can you cook without knowing math?  Try doubling a recipe... I'm just sayin'.

In this country we should be proud that good education is available to so many people.  In other places education is saved for the rich, or for men, but here in America anyone can go to school.  Children, even those with disabilities that are profound, have opportunity to learn.  Adults go back to school all the time, to finish a degree, to complete a GED because they dropped out of high school, or just to pick up a new skill or two.

You can even teach yourself.  If you want to learn something, you can find a way.  Refresher courses, adult education, vocational school, You Tube, books from the bookstore or the library, mentors, friends, it's all there.  You can even learn from radio and TV.

There are references to 'talking like the man on the six o'clock news'.  Anchor people usually try to lose any regional accents and polish their speaking skills if they want to get beyond local markets.  They're pretty good at reading the news from the teleprompter or script, and most of the time they do a fine job of sounding educated.

So they must have learned things fairly well in English classes.  I wish everyone could do that. 

I have a few pet peeves in the grammar area.  One is the misuse of the words 'me, myself and I'.  As in "If you have any questions, please call John or myself" or "please call John or I" -- if John were not an option, would you call myself?  Not so much.  OK, not a big deal.

Then there's the whole apostrophe thing.  John's Deli.  OK.  Walk-in's welcome.  No.  The problem is, sometimes if you type walk-ins, spell check wants to fix that for you.  So, how about when you use it's and when you use its?  It's a fine day.  The dog lost its bone.

Boy, I really feel for people who have to learn English as a second language!  The rules can be pretty obscure sometimes! 

I read a book called Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynn Truss.  OMG I laughed SO hard, but everything she said was true...

Lots of people use bad grammar and don't realize it, but lots of folks should know better.  I know someone who wants a better job than the one she has, and she has had some interviews but no offers.  I want so much to tell her that if she could polish up her speaking skills she'd have a better chance.  You're not going to get a job if the word 'ain't' is a staple in your vocabulary.  Or if you continually use me, myself and I in the wrong places.  And don't get me started on who and whom!

I tell everyone who will listen, learn everything you can about anything that's available.  You never know when it might come in handy.  I wish they'd paste that into every grammar textbook on the planet.

Sew on...