Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Don't worry about school failure

Surely most of us, at least over the age of mumble-mumble, learned not to define in the following terms.
In the April 15, 2005, edition of the Chattanooga Times Free Press (a day that was taxing in many ways), a "staff writer," who shall not be identified (and embarrassed) here, wrote a column on blogging and one particular blogger.
The headline read, "Blogging links world to local politics," and the subhead was, "Signal Mountain resident's entry on Daily Kos blog draws widespread attention."
Probably all of us have heard of Daily Kos, and maybe some of us have even tried to read it more than once. I, though, never heard of the blogger mentioned, but that's another story entirely.
My point is this: "Blogging, a growing medium in the online world, is when Web users post and respond to journal entries on a variety of topics."
"Blogging ... is when ..."???
I remember being taught way back in mumble-mumble, when I was a literal babe ... well, certainly pre-pubescent, anyway, that no literate person defines something as "when."
This is, I fear, a fair sample of what passes for writing in the Times Free Press.
Worse, it is a fair sample of what passes for copy editing in the Times Free Press.
So, to explain the title of this entry, don't worry if your child isn't learning good grammar or how to write clearly or proper phraseology. That child might grow up -- or not -- and be able to make a living as a "journalist."
THEN you should worry.


  1. "don't worry if your child isn't learning good grammar or how to write clearly or proper phraseology"

    . . . or parallel constructions? ;-)

    Enjoyable blog, Micheal. Thanks!

  2. Thank you, teacher, for your comment even though you misspelled "Michael."
    I am open to instruction -- and making a perhaps unsupportable assumption that you are a teacher.
    Anyway, I was writing "good grammar or how to write clearly or proper phraseology" as if each is a noun (or noun phrase).
    If I was right, then I believe that is parallel construction.
    But, if I'm (gasp) wrong, would you pretty please correct me?
    And, most important, thank you very much for visiting and commenting.
    I looked at your own blog and LOVED the dog photos, as well as your comments.

  3. Hi again, Michael,

    I shall try not to typo anything, this time.

    I am a teacher, but it's not because I think you need instruction that I posted a comment. I was teasing, and then messed up by committing a typo. Oh well; that's what I get for being snarky. :-)

    As for the phrase construction, see Mr. Strunk (last example.) You wrote:

    "good grammar or how to write clearly or proper phraseology."

    Each item is, as you say, a noun phrase. The first and third phrases are similarly constructed: [adjective] [noun]. The phrase "how to write clearly" includes a verbal and an adverb.

    You could have written the list as follows:

    "good grammar, clear writing [this one a gerund, of course] and proper phraseology."

    Anyway, I think you do write clearly.
    I look forward to your future posts.