Here’s a little lesson in humility for the following:
* Every North American who sees no value in learning our own language well, let alone anyone else’s
* Every North American who makes fun of people who come from other countries and struggle to live in our country, learn our culture, and speak our language
Over the years, I have led numerous grammar “review” sessions at various colleges and universities where I’ve been a professor. These sessions cover the three major problem areas for most people:
3. Irregular verbs, especially transitive and intransitive (the biggies are lie vs. lay)
Did you notice how I put the word review in quotation marks? That’s because, for many of my students, it’s the first time they’ve ever heard it.
Of course there are other trouble spots. These are the main ones that lots of people get wrong, including many “professional” writers. Again, note my use of quotation marks.
In all my years of review sessions with hundreds of students, most of whom have come through our public K-12 schools, I have met only one student who already knew this material thoroughly — knew it so well, in fact, that he was able to stay one step ahead for most of the review session.
Want to know where he’s from?
*PS: If you caught all eight errors in my headline, then you are probably either: a) as frustrated as I am at the appalling state of language instruction in the United States; or b) foreign.