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Could we have a word?

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By John Pawlak

Why is it that so many people want English to be our “national language” but they can’t speak or write it properly themselves?
You can have your cake and eat it too, right? But if you have a cake, what’s the big deal about eating it?
What people should say is, “You can eat your cake and have it, too.”
And what’s with too? To? Two? There are two too many to’s in our language. And of course, there’s the tutu.
English is really messed up. That’s what I like about math. Well, yeah, that’s messed up too (or two?), but at least I know what’s being said when someone speaks math.
English is a different animal altogether (or maybe more like a vegetable). After a quiz, asked a student how she thought she did. She said, “I did good.”
“So, you did some charity work while I wasn’t watching?”
I explained, “Helping out others is doing good. On a quiz, you do well, not good.” She nodded (a monosynaptic defensive reflex used by students to get teachers to leave them alone) and said, “OK, I did well,” to which I replied, “Well, it’s good that you did well.”
Back in high school, I didn’t appreciate the subtle humor woven throughout the DNA strands of English grammar.


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