Already have three submissions out this week!
And I have finished the following home work assignment, that I have decided to share with you. I am taking a class in linguistics. It was a class I was dreading as I concede grammar is a weakness of mine. For example, I have been criticized for writing in fragments. I choose to do that. I consider it a choice of style.
This week my professor in linguistics asked us to find and correct an example of a stylistic error. I am somewhat confused as how glaring errors in grammar can be considered stylistic, but when contemplating that I began to think of the former president, well known for grammar gaffes. The sentence I am using as an example is in a list of Bushisms listed under that entry on Wikipedia, in the category on education.
"Then you wake up at the high school level and find out that the illiteracy level of our children are appalling." —Washington, D.C.; January 23, 2004.
I think there are several problems with this sentence which is quite poorly constructed, but I will focus on the one that Wikipedia is emphasizing. The president's use (or misuse) of the word are instead of is, which is a matter of subject-verb agreement. The term children is plural, making the singular is grammatically incorrect.
I would rewrite the sentence as follows;
When you examine high school test scores in America, you find that the literacy level of our children is appalling.
I think that my example communicates the speaker’s intended message far more effectively. He opened with a phrase that didn’t really make any sense, and then muddled his real message with poor grammar, though it was possible to figure out what he meant.
A writer friend says she can find six errors in the sentence, but I am not that good. Anyone else?
If you would like to hear the statement as it was spoken in 2004 here it is;
http://politicalhumor.about.com/library/multimedia/bushism_illiteracy_appalling.mp3 or it can be found on Wikipedia.