Phi Beta Cons

Another Vote for Diagramming Sentences

From reader Vanessa F. Prouty:

I also have an anecdote regarding the poor teaching of English:
When our son was entering high school, there was a typical parent-teacher night. I had been previously appalled by the lackadaisical attitude that teachers had regarding correct grammar and punctuation. I tried to be brave, and raised my hand to ask the teacher if, “Now that our children were in high school, would more emphasis be put on grammar?” The teacher glared at me, and said, “No!” That was it! I was stunned not only at his reply, but the obvious animosity he harbored toward us parents.
After the “meeting” was over, several parents came to me to thank me for at least asking the question. I think they were also shocked by the episode. Our children were attending one of the supposed best public schools in Oregon; what was being taught at lesser schools?
A visit to any grocery store will reveal just how poorly people have been taught their native language. Signs will say, “Orange’s” and “Apple’s”. Signs will confuse “two,” “too,” and “to,” etc.
Admittedly, I am a dinosaur. I attended excellent public schools on Long Island in the 1960s-1970s. I will always remember diagramming sentences; I have never known ANYONE else who was required to do that. Indeed, no one even knows what I am talking about.
Thank you for calling attention to this important problem.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

Most Popular

The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead

The polling aggregator on the website RealClearPolitics shows the margin in polls led by Joe Biden in a blue font and the ones led by Donald Trump in red. For a while, the battleground states have tended to be uniformly blue, except for polls conducted by the Trafalgar Group. If you are a firm believer only in ... Read More

The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead

The polling aggregator on the website RealClearPolitics shows the margin in polls led by Joe Biden in a blue font and the ones led by Donald Trump in red. For a while, the battleground states have tended to be uniformly blue, except for polls conducted by the Trafalgar Group. If you are a firm believer only in ... Read More
Media

Jeffrey Toobin and Our Public-Hate Ritual

Oh, Jeffrey Toobin — let him among us with a free hand cast the first stone. Toobin, a writer for The New Yorker and fixture on CNN, was participating in a role-playing exercise on a Zoom call with his magazine colleagues, wargaming election-night scenarios. Toobin was standing in for the courts when he ... Read More
Media

Jeffrey Toobin and Our Public-Hate Ritual

Oh, Jeffrey Toobin — let him among us with a free hand cast the first stone. Toobin, a writer for The New Yorker and fixture on CNN, was participating in a role-playing exercise on a Zoom call with his magazine colleagues, wargaming election-night scenarios. Toobin was standing in for the courts when he ... Read More