Is Our Secretaries Learning?

I guess it’s too much these days to expect a Secretary of Education to know basic English grammar:

I want to thank our mutual friend John Rogers, who’s been a mentor and friend to me since I was 10-years-old. He gave my sister and I the opportunity to start a great school in the Southside of Chicago, and that has become a model for success in urban education.

I know it’s a nit, but after all the Bush bashing for the past eight years, I can’t resist.

12 thoughts on “Is Our Secretaries Learning?”

  1. They’re aren’t to many reasons why eye would worry. There ability to spel and talk good ain’t gonna hurt us in the big scheem of things. Hear in the USA we take pride in are education and thats what you can take to the bank. But’s that just between you and us.

    Urban education — just wait 4 years… you’ll see.

  2. That common error is annoying because it is politeness that trips people up. If Duncan had been less polite and listed himself before his sister, he, like every other native English speaker, wouldn’t have made that mistake. No English speaker would say “He gave I and my sister the opportunity….”

  3. I refuse to criticize someone else for grammar and spelling. (Glass houses…)

    However the thought of a big wig from the Chicago school system directing US schooling no a national level….

    Oh well. The Illinois governor will be looking for a job soon, perhaps he can work a national government ethics board?


  4. I blame the schools.

    Seriously. What do they teach you all the time in grade school grammar?

    “Rand and me wrote some posts on that thread.”

    “No, it’s ‘Rand and *I*”…

    At least, when I was in school, the emphasis was entirely placed on getting it right before the verb, with little mention to what happens in (“noun/pronoun and myself”) cases after the verb. So, it’s not surprising that most people have a tendency to over-correct their language when “me” is actually the right word to use.

    Just as with contraction homonyms, any time that I have a question about word usage, I say the sentence to myself with the contractions split out and the extra subjects removed, and if it doesn’t sound right once the sentence has been simplified, then it isn’t right.

  5. I know a schoolteacher who will argue the point with me and insist that “he and I” is always correct regardless of the construction’s role in a sentence.

    I speak as someone who worked hard to forget everything I learned about diagramming sentences; my best shot at becoming an English professor was to become a British subject and get a job at Oxford.

  6. No English speaker would say “He gave I and my sister the opportunity….”

    Yes, an English speaker would, for the reasons Big D gives.

  7. Supposedly this guy was part of a faction in the Chicago education establishment that more or less opposed the Bill Ayers faction. If so then this appointment isn’t as muhc of a ::whimper:: as Kelly thinks. From what I’ve read he seems to be a pretty reasonable choice coming from a Democratic president.

  8. Keith,
    just opposing Ayers doesn’t make this guy Ronald Reagan.

    The problem comes in at the point of just HOW far to the left Ayers is. You can oppose him, and still be pretty far to the left.

  9. Another trick is to leave the noun out of the sentence to check it. One would not say, “He gave I the opportunity …” The main problem is that people don’t realize that the pronoun here is an object of the implied preposition “to”.

    As for the fact that even some teachers insist ‘I’ is always correct, I believe this problem may have gotten out of hand in the ’50s with the movie Our Miss Brooks. Eve Arden in the title role of an English teacher continually “corrects” her students to always say “I” in such situations.

  10. Wow, the Chicago school system sets such a great example for the nation. But, then again, the Dept. of Education has had no positive effect whatsoever on the abilities of American students or teachers.

    None. Nada. Zip.

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