Mama, Don’t Let Your Baby Grow Up Without Grammar

“…he writes the worst English
I have ever encountered.
It reminds me of a string of wet sponges;
it
reminds me of tattered washing on the line;
it reminds me of stale
bean-soup,
of college yells,
of dogs barking idiotically through
endless nights.
It is so bad a sort of grandeur creeps into it.
It
drags itself out of the dark abysm of pish,
and crawls up to the
topmost pinnacle of posh.
It is rumble and bumble.
It is flap and doodle.
It is balder and dash.”
          ~  H.L. Mencken

“The only man, woman or child who wrote a simple declarative sentence with seven grammatical errors is dead.”
          ~  E.E. Cummings

The subject of these scathing sentences is our twenty-ninth president, Warren G. Harding.  It is said that he was elected because of his striking good looks (?? I’m just not into eyebrows) and his ambitious wife.  He promised a return to normalcy – one of his favorite words, a word journalists thought should be normality — but his short term was marked by scandal.

Thus endeth the history lesson of the day.

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One thought on “Mama, Don’t Let Your Baby Grow Up Without Grammar

  1. what is your favorite “teaching grammar” program? (today I had a “present, present participle, past & past participle” lesson with one of my students…!); we grew up with english as a foreign language (the Boere & the British) – as a grown-up i still confuse my tenses! 

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