Friday, December 01, 2006

Goodness. How important it is to use the English language properly. You can be a Hollywood celebrity, have the very best of intentions in seeking to comfort bereaved friends, eulogise a mentor and father-figure, philosophise on the fleetingness of life, and yet people are going to remember what you said with ridicule and contempt because you displayed a very poor command of the language.

Letter of Condolence, full transcript via USA Today.

Ms Lohan has some slight problems with her subject-verb agreement, but gets into more trouble with her use of prepositions. One major howler occurs in her opening sentence which unintentionally casts aspersions on Mrs Altman's fidelity and propriety due to the faulty preposition, "of". Not the most diplomatic way to address a recently-widowed friend, eh?

But her biggest problem is in writing run-on sentences and sentence fragments, which suggests that she transcribes directly from her thoughts. Few of us think in grammatical sentences, but we do bother to edit for linguistic convention in our written communication.

The quality of her writing deteriorates closer to the end of her letter, closing with some bizarre vocabulary.

If this specimen is representative of how people generally write today, then we English teachers can see two possibly outcomes: job security for life, or unemployment. Depends on how optimistic we are.

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