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HomeOpinionLetter to the EditorDisputing Textbooks: Local Education

Disputing Textbooks: Local Education

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This column series offers replies to what is published in the current “text books,” which are adopted by the State and school districts.

BY HAMILTON HANSON

This article is a direct result of what is taking place in Hernando County schools. How education in its most basic form – distribution of information for better living – is not taking place in Hernando County.

It took me three years to teach a former Superintendent to stop ending their sentences with a preposition. Many people in this District will have no idea of what I speak. A preposition is a word or group of words used BEFORE a noun, pronoun, or “noun phrase” to show direction, time, place, location, spatial relationships, or to introduce an object. “Where you AT?” is a preposition at the end of a sentence, not before a noun. Other examples are ‘by,’ ‘for,’ ‘into,’ or “Who you with?” which usually has a noun group as its object.

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From the many videos of school board workshops or regular meetings come the following: I sincerely question how many leaders of our District know what an “infinitive” is or that a speaker should never split one. We more commonly say “to not do something” when proper English would be “NOT to do something.” The first is a split infinitive; the second is correct grammar. An infinitive is the basic form of a verb, usually following “to” or another verb form, as in “to go.” In the sentences “I had to go” and “I must go,” “go” is an infinitive.

One conjugates a verb thusly: spring, sprang, sprung, as in – Today I spring, yesterday I sprang and I have sprung in the past – present, past and past participle. Sprung is NOT both past and past participle; it is ONLY past participle.

Another example of abusing the English language is the word “plead.” The original conjugation was plead, pled and pled. But, people have abused it so much that it is now also legitimately accepted that plead, pleaded and pled are also widely accepted.

Here’s another common item: “All cars made after 2005 has this secret feature.” It’s called syntax, or the arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences in a language. Every sentence has a subject and a predicate. In the sample sentence, the subject is expressed as a multiple, while the verb is expressed in the singular. Correct syntax would make BOTH subject and verb singular or both plural, but not one of each.

I heard a TV commercial in which a person uses the phrase “TEN EXED” in place of the simple “ten times.” My point is that we allow and encourage “fads” to be used in our English language long before our students are taught correct English.
To be continued!

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