deltamiss: (School Rules)
[personal profile] deltamiss
It has been a long time since I complained about poor grammar, but a couple of commercials on television have just gotten under my skin lately.

After [livejournal.com profile] mummm posted the link to the article about Birmingham, England eliminating the apostrophe from street signs, it's been difficult to rein in my frustration. According to the man who made the final decision, apostrophes are 'confusing'! Huh??? How confusing can the TWO main rules be? It's not like the COMMA that has a gazillion uses. Sheesh!

But, this post isn't about the apostrophe - although I could write a whole essay on that mistake. No, this post is about when to use less and when to use fewer. How difficult can it be? Not very.

Use less as the adjective if the noun canNOT be numbered. Less talk, more action...less milk, more cereal....less reading, lower test scores. Use fewer as the adjective if the noun can be numbered. FEWER commercials...FEWER mistakes...FEWER idiots! There is a cable movie network that advertises it shows MORE movies and LESS commercials. Helllllllooooooo?! I can't remember what the other ad is for right now (maybe an insurance company), but the ad writers make the same mistake. Both drive me straight up the wall.

You do NOT want me to get started on farther/further. ;)

While I'm ranting let me just say that for the last few years I've noticed a decided downward trend in students' general knowledge, creativity, analysis skills and the ability to think. My first year at the school where I teach now was a culture shock. I'd just come from years in inner-city schools, and my expectations weren't very high. The ability of the students that first year seemed to outstretch any student I'd taught in the twenty previous years. I thought they were brilliant. Then I taught gifted students for two years and after having raised my expectations, I was sorely disappointed that the AIG kids were only a notch or two ahead of the regular ed kids (I will say that there were a handful of brilliant students in the first AIG class I taught). Since then it's been downhill all the way.

The only conclusion I can draw from this is that the No Child Left Behind act (passed in 2001) has further ruined public education. Padding grades, dumbing down classes, passing students to the next grade even when they haven't earned any grade above an F, not holding students accountable...products of NCLB.

I realize that the ad writers for the cable network were not the beneficiaries of NCLB - they are just ignorant - but when all is said and done, NCLB has made matters worse, not better.

I teach with the mother of one of my former AIG students. T is just about the brightest kid I ever taught, but he is failing senior Advanced Placement English for a variety of reasons. He told his mother that he wished he could take my eighth grade English class again as a refresher course because he hasn't learned anything since then. Yes, that made me feel good, but it also made me sad. What are we doing to our kids???

/rant
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December 2011

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