Friday, May 15, 2015

On the Careful Use of Language

Although my kids might disagree, I try not to spend too much time being a pain-in-the-butt grammar hawk.  Every once in a while, though, the internet offers up a magnificent blooper and I am unable to keep my trap shut.  Check out the following gem:

The origins of the photo are thus: in the middle of teaching his organizational behavior class, a student who could not find a babysitter’s kid began to cry. 

As I read it, this sentence asserts that a student could not find the babysitter's kid, which caused the student to cry during a class.  Due to the goofy placement and use of "his,"  it would appear that the student was a man and was, paradoxically, also teaching the class. 

The situation described is entertainingly absurd, but does not at all reflect what the writer meant to say.  If you read the full article (and you may have, as the photo that prompted the story went viral), it turns out that a young woman couldn't find a babysitter for her child and had to bring her infant to class.  The baby began to cry during the class and the professor picked the baby up to sooth him (or her--I'm a little fuzzy on the details) and continued to teach the class while holding the baby. Props to the teacher, but I think the writer needs a better editor.

On a completely different topic, I have no idea where I left off in my knitting saga and I don't have any good project photos to post anyway, so instead I present Rupert, the pet rock my daughter had to make for her science class.*  I am particularly fond of his smile.  And his hair.  And his eyes. He reminds me very much of my daughter. 


*No, I don't know why we are still making pet rocks in high school, but I also don't understand why the kids take written tests in PE (we used to call it by the hopelessly antiquated name "gym").  I guess my kids are right when they say I just don't understand anything about their lives.