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An English Teacher's Incorrect Correction of a Trump Letter Illustrates His Critics' Reflexive Condescension

Let's argue about the president's policies instead of his "grammar & style."

FacebookFacebookA glance at Donald Trump's Twitter feed is enough to show that the president does not have a firm grasp of punctuation and tends to capitalize words arbitrarily. By comparison, the form letter that Yvonne Mason received from Trump, which presumably was written by a staffer on his behalf, is a model of care. Yet Mason, a retired English teacher in Atlanta, thought the letter was so riddled with errors that she marked it up, posted a photo of it on Facebook, and sent the "corrected" version back to the White House. I know about this incident only because The New York Times thought it was worth a story, as part of a continuing series on what a huge doofus the president is.

Don't get me wrong. The president is a huge doofus. But Mason's markup of his letter does not reinforce that point. In fact, none of Mason's corrections is correct, although there are at least two mistakes in the letter that she neglected to note. Mason's showy but erroneous pedantry illustrates the tendency of Trump's opponents to cast policy disagreements as questions of competence and to delight in everything that reflects badly on him, even when that thing is not, strictly speaking, true. These tendencies, which mirror Trump's own fondness for ad hominem attacks and recklessness with facts, alienate potential allies while confirming his supporters' conviction that he is sticking it to a supercilious elite that holds them in contempt.

Mason, a Democrat, had sent Trump a letter asking him to visit the families of the 17 people who were killed in the February 14 shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. "I had written to them in anger, to tell you the truth," she told the Times. "I thought he owed it to these grieving families." The subtext here, of course, is that Mason wants more gun control than Trump is willing to support. When Mason got back the form letter, which cites various steps that Trump took after the Parkland massacre to "improve both school and community safety"—steps that Mason views as woefully inadequate—she transformed this policy dispute into a "grammar & style" lesson.

"Have ya'll tried grammar & style check?" she scrawled in the upper left corner of the letter. "Poor writing is not something I abide," she told the Times.

Almost all of Mason's corrections are complaints about capitalization. Specifically, the letter capitalizes the words federal, state, nation, and president even when they are not components of proper nouns. That is not A.P. style. That is not Reason style. That is not my style. But as the Times notes, it is White House style:

A style manual for the federal government calls for capitalizing "Nation" and "Federal" when the words are used as a synonym for the United States. It says "State" should be capitalized when it is referring to the government or legislature. In letters from Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush that constituents posted online, words like "Nation" and "President" are capitalized.

The staffer who wrote this form letter can hardly be faulted for following the federal government's style manual, even if you and I might not like the rules it contains. Nor did he do anything wrong by referring to the Justice Department's proposed ban on bump stocks as a "rule," a term that seems to have puzzled Mason. The letter's author can fairly be criticized for omitting the word criminal from the name of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and for writing this sentence:

As president, one of my top priorities is the safety of America's youth, who are the future leaders of our great Nation.

The misplaced modifier (which Mason mentioned to the Times but did not mark on the letter) suggests that the president is "one of my top priorities." Better: "One of my top priorities as president is the safety of America's youth, who are the future of our great Nation." Even better: Let's argue about the president's policies instead of his "grammar & style."

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  • ||

    none of Mason's corrections is correct

    are

    (ducks)

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    THAT COULD GO EITHER WAY.

  • susancol||

    Quoth Grammarist: "None are or none is. None is a pronoun most of the time. It means nothing, zero, no one, or not any part. Some believe it can only be singular in construction, but that is not true. Most seem to think that because none can mean 'not one' that it is always singular, but none can also mean 'not any'."

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    More simply, "none", "nothing", "noone", "nowhere", etc., are never singular and never plural. Unlike other pronouns, these do not substitute for another noun.

    I would think using a plural form would make more sense, since it would be consistent with the negation: "All of Mason's correction are not correct." But neither way is wrong.

  • Paloma||

    None is a short version if "not one". So not one "IS".

  • SQRLSY One||

    "Are" be "R" is the same as a parrot or a pirate saying "Arrrrgh", so R B. Arby's R Being R of the ArrrGGGGHy R-R, Har-Har, and I is NOT bein' quaiNt with my ain't, so ain't ANY of Ye-ALL bein' TRUMPIN' Me in My ArbiTraRy SleCtioN of WhuT tEe CapiutALiZe And NUt KaItAlIZe 'cUASE tRuMP Is wAaAayYyYy SMURTeR tHAn any OF uS sTOOOOpId pEONS, sO gOoOo aWaAaAY y'AL iGNERnT pEPpLES yE!

    tRuMPeD yEeEe nUW dIdN'T aH?!?!?!

  • a tandem||

    The English teacher apparently did not bother to look at Clinton or Obama letters, where "Nation" and "Federal" are capitalized as proper nouns as well. 3/4 of these "mistakes" listed are not mistakes at all but peculiarities mandated in the 50 year old Federal Government Stylebook last updated under JFK.

    it has been abo ten days since the NYTimes story ran and people have posted hundred of letters from Obama and Clinton with more "mistakes".

    Yet the New York Times, which has become so rabidly partisan, and is only making payroll from massive infusions of money from DNC trustees and donors, decided to write a story on this and none of the prior cases.

    Not to mention the obvious fact that oif this English teacher things this autopenned letter was ever even seen by President Trump, they are the biggest rubes in reporting.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    If it means 'not one' then it should never be followed by a plural noun like 'corrections'. 'Not one corrections is' is not grammatically correct.

  • BillEverman||

    "Not one corrections is" isn't correct because you omitted the "of the." "Not one of the corrections is" is correct because "one" is singular, and "is" goes with the singular "one."

  • SQRLSY One||

    But what IS the meaning of the word "is"? Is is is, or is is not-is, or is ain't, or is quaint, or is isn't, or is aren't, or is are? I am channeling Bill "is is is" Clinton, and I want to KNOW, dammit!!!

  • a tandem||

    You are falsifying the quote. That's desperate. The full quote, "None [contraction of 'not one'] of the corrections is correct," is indeed completely correct usage.

  • sudon't||

    Paloma, "none" is not a contraction, or short version, of "not one". It's assumed to be formed from ne + an, (no + one), which is maybe what you're thinking of. It's a word, originally attested in Old English, as "nan", (various masculine inflections: nænne, nenne, nanne, nonne), with the same meaning as the modern word. It's usually used in a plural construction because "none" implies any number of negated possibilities.

  • gclancy51||

    This is subject-verb disagreement. Not a pronoun issue.

  • Tony||

    Your wrong.

  • MarkLastname||

    Actually he's rite

  • RickCaird||

    None stands for "not one", so "not one of Mason's corrections is correct" or "None of Mason's corrections is correct".

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    The story of the Left's attacks on Trump is the story of a bunch of third rate blowhards attacking a second rate blowhard. Trump is hardly beyond criticism, but so much of the Left's attack on him boils down to "He isn't ONE OF US!!!!" that it's hard to take seriously.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Especially since, in many ways, he IS one of them.

  • XenoZooValentine||

    We have met the enemy, and they is us.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    So much wisdom in Pogo..........

  • Longtobefree||

    "... and so we will tell them that the fault lies not with our glorious candidate, but with the nitwits and nincompoops who elected them . . . . . "

  • MarioLanza||

    Thank goodness for the "nitwits" who voted for Trump in contrast to the absolutely brain dead half who actually voted for Hillary.

    What were Hillary's accomplishments as senator? I believe that she sponsored only one bill in her time as a senator - a bill honoring some politician, I believe. She took in millions from some of the worlds worst dictators into her slush fund.

    Trump is such an ultra-marooon...but he is the most conservative/libertarian president ever.

  • DarrenM||

    You're presuming that "accomplishments" for a Senator means sponsoring bills. It's more about how much graft you can get away with.

  • damikesc||

    And given the academic ineptitude of education majors, having one play the role of genius is a bad idea.

  • Sevo||

    Or, the tend toward some variation on:
    'Trump is a big poopyhead!'

  • Ivivi Premprach||

    "In fact, none of Mason's corrections is correct"

    Ahem...

  • Adam||

    Actually, he's correct. Sorry.

  • a tandem||

    That is perfectly correct usage. Put it in the google using site archive.org/NYtimes.com and you can see the NYTimes uses that exact phase. NYTmes should have googled its own site!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I'm beginning to wonder after all if feeling is not actually a good substitute for thinking.

  • Ivivi Premprach||

    Also, as a TESOL professional, I would suggest that the localization debate is making this discussion largely meaningless.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Yeah, this is kinda dumb.

  • The_Hoser||

    Jacob's article, the woman's reaction or the NYT thinking it's a story?

    "All three" is also acceptable.

  • Fancylad||

    Jacob's article didn't have the customary Reason writer SJW signaling "Don't get me wrong. The president is a huge doofus", until the second paragraph.
    Will this be regarded as tacit approval of Trump by the bien pensant journalist crowd? Will poor Jake be disinvited to Georgetown dinner parties now?

  • Yellow Tony||

    Yeah, it's dumb. Another implication of these hysterical people's actions is that it portrays everybody who dislikes Trump as having the intellectual maturity of a mentally disabled turtle with a blue-waffled vagina for a shell.

  • Headache||

    You mean! You mean, they are not!

  • my sour cream turned sourer||

    The misplaced modifier here suggests that the president is "one of my top priorities."

    No it doesn't.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    Agreed.

  • Presskh||

    Also agree.

  • Michael Cox||

    Yeah, these are people who can't read the 2nd amendment or commerce clause...

  • IceTrey||

    I'm glad I'm not the only one. The second comma does seem wrong to me though.

  • Steve-O||

    Agreed. I fail to see the misplaced modifier.

  • GamerFromJump||

    Indeed, he is wrong. "As" here means "in the capacity of", and the pronoun takes possession of it.

  • gclancy51||

    Yeah the syntax is fine, but US English teachers be cray cray

  • AndArmorU/W||

    This is fucking silly. No more needs to be said about it.

  • AndArmorU/W||

    This is fucking silly. No more needs to be said about it.

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    Teh Squirrels disagree.

  • XenoZooValentine||

    "An English Teacher's Incorrect Correction of a Trump Letter Illustrates His Critics' Reflexive Condescension"

    Another anti-Trump headline by the biased fake news cuck-a-doodles at Reason! SAD!

    I'm cancelling my subscription and starting my own site, with blackjack and hookers!

  • XenoZooValentine||

    (This was sarcasm. I keep forgetting you need to say that around there these days.)

  • Longtobefree||

    "Never apologize Mister, it's a sign of weakness"

  • Jerryskids||

    Teacher's never heard of Muphry's Law.

  • Aloysious||

    Muphry is Murphy's wife's second cousin twice removed.

  • MarkLastname||

    Yeah those illiterates at Ellis Island screwed up the name when they came over.

  • See.More||

    Mason, a Democrat, had sent Trump a letter asking him to visit the families of the 17 people who were killed in the February 14 shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida.

    Why? Why do these people think everything is a Presidential matter? What happened in Parkland, while national news, is a local law enforcement issue not a federal issue.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Not to a marxist progressive.

  • A Thinking Mind||

    If we can't use the army to enforce security at our schools, what good is the army?

  • IceTrey||

    Well the FBI was involved beforehand.

  • CDRSchafer||

    Because of the Russian wreckers in the school election obviously

  • Rich||

    Meh. Just pay attention to advertisements and you'll realize "modern" English is an abomination.

    "Not all applicants will qualify." Oh, really? What if every single applicant meets your criteria? "Sorry, Sir/Madam -- we have to arbitrarily deny you, so that we maintain truth in advertising."

    "There are many reasons why having good teeth are important." This construct -- selecting the plural form mindlessly based on the verb's proximity to a plural noun -- is increasing "acceptable".

    The list goes on and on.

  • Rich||

    *increasingly*

    *** kicks pebble ***

  • Agammamon||

    reasons . . . are.

    That is the correct usage of 'are' here

  • Rich||

    having good teeth IS important

    That is the INcorrect usage of 'are' here

  • gclancy51||

    The truth you shall find in the subject of the clause. Dig deep, my friend.

  • Naaman Brown||

    having is important for many good reasons

  • Rich||

    This guy gets it.

    "Pi r *round*! *Cornbread* r square!"

  • Rigelsen||

    The misplaced modifier here suggests that the president is "one of my top priorities."

    In no way is what you suggest a natural reading. It's not even a question of unresolved ambiguity. Your reading would transform a grammatical sentence into a nonsensical word salad. Ambiguities in phrasing always cut against nonsensival word salads.

  • BigT||

    A Reason writer's incorrect correction of a Trump letter illustrates his critics' reflexive condescension.

    FIFY

  • ||

    Americans are lucky they have the dystopian totalitarianism of Britain, otherwise they'd be a fricken joke to be obsessing over such stupidities.

    Sullum, curious. Would have called that putz Potsie (aka Obama) as a 'doofus'? Just asking because this 'doofus' is not without some interesting achievements so far.

  • ||

    Didn't Trump meet with the families of Parkland?

    And so what if he didn't?

    Ya'all gon' bitch'n moan like Little Spike Lee?

  • XenoZooValentine||

    What makes this even more of a nothing-burger is that each day, letters go out from every agency and corporation in the country that look like they were written by cats. Nobody cares, because their own writing is probably even worse.

  • CDRSchafer||

    I've worked in federal/military healthcare for 30 years and received a letter from the Veteran's Administration that I had to read five times to figure out what it meant. Gibberish. Someone really had to work hard and educate themselves to write that poorly.

  • GamerFromJump||

    Every time I get a paper that has never met a paragraph break, I die a little inside.

  • Ecoli||

    The left are proud morons. Condescending too.

  • MoreFreedom||

    I vote your comment best Ecoli! Even Sullum agrees good policy is more important than good grammar.

    Though I disagree with Sullum that it makes sense to write "The president is a huge doofus." While I voted for Johnson, seems to me Trump is at least doing what he can to change the USA Titanic's direction towards a freer future. Trump is fighting against the Democrats and the RINOs, and at least he got taxes reduced, he's deregulating via EO, and reducing government in the executive branch. And Trump is much more libertarian that I hoped. And he's doing this with people in government trying to take him out.

    So Sullum, report on the policy changes please. Enough Trump bashing.

  • CDRSchafer||

    Especially when you compare it to the horror show Mrs. Clinton's presidency would have been.

  • lap83||

    Yeah they confuse "condescending" with "superior to"

  • Yellow Tony||


    I'm not a fan of Trump (and most presidents for that matter), but this kind of supercilious, virtue-signaling, and ignorant behavior is what will be the cause of this empire's demise. (But perhaps that's a good thing.)


    A glance at Donald Trump's Twitter feed is enough to show that the president does not have a firm grasp of punctuation


    Also, who gives a fuck about correct punctuation in a tweet? You have to fit your thoughts in a character limit that encourages low quality posts such that twitter is an abyss of hysterical retardation. I'd rather get irrationally pissed at someone's substitution of "give" with "gift."

  • Flinch||

    Spot on. The goal of publishing is... to get it read. In that vein, Trump does reasonably well using twitter regardless of being right or wrong.

  • DarrenM||

    "Good punctuation" does not belong in the same sentence as "Twitter".

  • Paloma||

    Is there anything more useless than a retired English teacher?

  • Yellow Tony||

    Masculine penises?
    Nude beaches?
    Harem without fanservice?
    Love?
    Reason's commentariat?
    Your own that you can't have sex with?
    Deanna "I sense he has intentions" Troi?

  • Fancylad||

    Reason's commentariat are the wittiest thing on this site (yes, even Hihn, Kirkland, Liberaltarian and Tony count), as most of the writers nowadays are just regurgitating DNC talking points and shit they read on Buzzfeed.

  • ||

    A retired French teacher?

  • BigT||

    Tits on a fish.

  • Chili Dogg||

    Tits on a fish? Huh? I never thought of that. Wait, I can use that.

  • Rich||

    "My eyes are over here!"

  • Mock-star||

    I laughed way too hard at this.

  • Headache||

    BigT|5.28.18 @ 4:11PM

    Not useless. LOL for two minutes.

  • Fancylad||

    Sounds more useful than your average fish

  • ThomasD||

    Go on...

  • markm23||

    I was going to refer to two items on my chest, but BigT beat that.

  • Ecoli||

    An active English teacher?

  • MarkLastname||

    Ah I was gonna say that.

  • Rich||

    A teacher of retired English?

  • Michael Cox||

    I had one of those. I hate Middle English.

  • ChrisC||

    Useless and erroneous pedantry pretty much describes the academic left.

  • Duelles||

    None of our comments here is relevant to Trump's policies, or Mason's inadequacies, or the NYTIMES. I love caps!

  • sparkstable||

    Screw Caps. Go Vegas!

  • Derp-o-Matic 6000||

    Woohoo! Go Caps!

    Wait, what are we discussing?

  • kynodog||

    What do you want, good grammar or good taste?

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    That is not A.P. style. That is not Reason style.

    To be sure, the Reason style guide is used religiously by the commentariat.

  • Naaman Brown||

    There is a Reason style guide?

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    1. Grammar that the listener or reader understands is inherently correct. English teachers and style guides do not wield authority over the English language.

    2. Are the MSM and the left (redundant, I know) stupid enough to run with this story? Most people hate grammar nazis.

    3. It's "y'all", not "ya'll". It appears to be correct in the letter though.

  • Illocust||

    Nope, it's ya'll. As you said, English language does and English language wants, and Ya'll is the much more common variant.

  • ThomasD||

    As a contraction of you all, it's y'all.

    Yinz, on the other hand, gets no apostrophe because it's not a contraction of two proper words.

  • lap83||

    Typos and bad grammar annoy me too, but volunteering a critique of someone's writing, esp. when it is a prominent person's writing, makes you look like a petty little busybody. Nobody gives a shit how much better at spelling/grammar you are than the president because that trait doesn't get you anywhere in life, and I say this as a pretty good speller myself. (I see them all the time in text and they annoy me) It's the word equivalent of coordinating your outfits. The bigger the job, the more likely it is that someone else does it for them and the sillier someone else looks for thinking an error therein is an opportunity for a devastating criticism.

  • Longtobefree||

    Note to Trump: Stop responding to democrats. It will save time and (tax) money.

  • Derp-o-Matic 6000||

    Rule has a specific meaning under the APA. Glad to see this teacher doesn't let her complete cluelessness on how federal agencies operate doesn't interfere with her sanctimony.

  • Mark22||

    Mason's showy but erroneous pedantry illustrates the tendency of Trump's opponents to cast policy disagreements as questions of competence

    Looks to me like it is more of an illustration of the incompetence of US teachers.

    This infantile and bigoted person was teaching American children for a few decades.

    How much does Mason get as a retired teacher anyway?

  • CDRSchafer||

    Well at least she didn't stand 500 feet away while kids were getting shot up in a classroom.

  • Arcxjo||

    Sure, let's let someone who uses the word "y'all" lecture us about grammar.

  • Tony||

    "Mason's showy but erroneous pedantry illustrates..."

    Nothing. It illustrates nothing. We grammar Nazis, unlike the Nazis that Trump sympathizes with, are not an organized outfit.

    You're making it difficult to stick by my rule of forgiving half-assed hungover journalism over this holiday weekend.

  • MarkLastname||

    Yes, it does illustrate something about the media outlets that covered this favorably toward Mason (speaking of half assed journalism).

    Also, she's not a grammar Nazi; she's not just being pedantic: she's wrong. Try reading the article again. And repeating the nonsense about Trump being a Nazi over and over again may be effective st convincing yourself of things that aren't true, but not so much st convincing anyone else.

  • Tony||

    I don't know what you think you're gaining for yourself by defending Trump.

  • VinniUSMC||

    We all know what you think you're gaining by your virtue signalling though.

  • Tony||

    It's not like I'm bragging about being against Nazis. It's the easiest political position to take in the entire goddamn history of politics.

  • Mark22||

    It's not like I'm bragging about being against Nazis. It's the easiest political position to take in the entire goddamn history of politics.

    As you keep demonstrating.

  • CDRSchafer||

    You're against imaginary Nazis while your side cuddles with actual Nazis (Hamas, Antifa, et al).

  • Jack Klompus Magic Ink||

    But yet, fucking useless retarded turd that you are, here you are taking it with pride.

  • DarrenM||

    How about being against human sacrifice?

  • Mark22||

    Nothing. It illustrates nothing. We grammar Nazis, unlike the Nazis that Trump sympathizes with, are not an organized outfit.

    Tony, you are a Nazi sympathizer: you pretty much espouse the same totalitarian and racist world view as the Nazis. And you are an organized outfit, from the Democratic party to thousands of organizations that push your agenda. Even your obsession with language standardization is something you share with the Nazis.

  • Tony||

    I'm a conservative when it comes to language usage but also a realist. Also I have no desire to gas millions of Jews.

  • DarrenM||

    Also I have no desire to gas millions of Jews.

    Admittedly, with all the technological advances, we should be able to do better than this.

  • Jack Klompus Magic Ink||

    But you always manage to stick to your rule of being the dumbest piece of shit ever to breathe.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    "That is not A.P. style. That is not Reason style. That is not my style. But as the Times notes, it is White House style"

    Why do we even have a government, if it's not setting the one, true set of rules for all of grammar?

    "Anarchy", you animals! It's called "anarchy"!

  • Flinch||

    The older I get, the less I think of educators as a group, but I suspect it may not be their fault. I mean, when colleges are wasting valuable time mucking about with bad theories such as "white privilege", I have to wonder what got cut out of their curriculum and how much dumber the replacements those freshly degreed minds are destined to mentor will be. I've had some great teachers in the past, thank goodness, but as a group... something is sinking and the goons poking holes below the waterline typically have NEA credentials and a fistful of government money.
    The "corrections"of the letter are ten times worse than any mistakes. No wonder Half Moon Bay entertained teaching ebonics years ago, and no wonder the world has been passing the US by during the last several decades in quality of education.
    Time to take back public education - local controls only, and just give up on the money furnace we know as the Department of Education.

  • Johnimo||

    Liberals believe Trump is always wrong: "Look at that beautiful sunshine," said President Trump. "Oh! The horror of global warming," said the liberal.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    I'm tired of political correctness.

    I now call a bigot a bigot, an illiterate rube an illiterate rube, and a half-educated, disaffected yahoo an ardent Trump supporter.

    Some may call it condescension to describe economically inadequate, superstitious, backwaters-inhabiting goobers accurately, but the truth requires no apology.

    Carry on, clingers.

  • Derp-o-Matic 6000||

    So...you didn't read the article, then m

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Yvonne Mason, er, Arthur L. Hicklib, is clearly upset that her idiocy was put on full display.

  • Sevo||

    "I now call a bigot a bigot, an illiterate rube an illiterate rube, and a half-educated, disaffected yahoo an ardent Trump supporter."

    Yeah, I'm fed up with scumbags like you also. I now call fucking lefty ignoramuses fucking lefty ignoramuses, fucking lefty ignoramus.
    BTW, you and she lost, so you're a loser besides, fucking lefty ignoramus.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    BTW, you . . . lost

    Wrong. America's progress has vindicated my preferences throughout my lifetime. In America, backward right-wingers have been and seem destined to continue to be the losers. That is why they whine so bitterly and have become so disaffected. The liberal-libertarian alliance has called the shots in America for more than a half-century, against the efforts and wishes of conservatives.

    Carry on, clinger. So far as your betters permit, anyway.

  • ||

    The liberal-libertarian alliance has called the shots in America for more than a half-century, against the efforts and wishes of conservatives.

    They've called the shots and progressively made exceptional people, ideas, and industries exceptionally bad. Black Americans would be every bit as successful as white Americans save for the last half-century that you lay claim to. Your liberal-libertarian alliance has been raping free women for at least half a century and now seems to be reaping what they sow. Your high-mindedness has ascended to a level that could only be stirred by a mental powerhouse the likes of Donald Trump. So, keep on, keepin' on good Reverend, the ignorant morons claiming to be our betters make the same worm food as those who admit to being our lessers. The children of many peoples will piss on your grave in appreciation of your noble efforts whether conservatives encourage them to or not.

  • DarrenM||

    It's interesting that you don't appear to believe they can go too far.

  • VinniUSMC||

    Congratulations Artie. You finally looked into a mirror and found yourself to be wanting? Was it hard to finally come to terms with your being a bigoted, illiterate, half-educated, dissaffected Hillary supporting rube?

  • Mark22||

    I now call a bigot a bigot, an illiterate rube an illiterate rube, and a half-educated, disaffected yahoo an ardent Trump supporter. Some may call it condescension to describe economically inadequate, superstitious, backwaters-inhabiting goobers accurately, but the truth requires no apology.

    You obviously believe yourself to be an intellectually and genetically superior man, and believe you ought to be given power for the good of the entire national community, so tell us yahoos what your plans for us are. If you come to power, will you brilliant, enlightened progressive minds send us "half-educated, disaffected, economically inadequate, superstitious, backwaters-inhabiting yahoos" directly to the gas chambers, or do we get the usual detour via segregation, forced sterilization, work camps, and medical experimentation first?

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    I predict and prefer continued liberal-libertarian progress, of the type that has improved America throughout my lifetime.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    The same one that's ignorant of its own history, it seems.

  • a tandem||

    We are seeing a trend toward reduced support for gun ocntorl on 50,. 40, 30, 20, 10 and 5 year measures, and libral-ttarians oppose gun control, so that is progress.

  • Jonny Scrum-half||

    Focusing on substance rather than grammar is good advice. Also, maybe consider whether its fair to argue that one person's Facebook post is reflective of a much larger group's condescension. Alternatively, let's use racist Facebook posts to generalize about the racism of self-identified conservatives or libertarians.

  • Johnniebgoode||

    Silly column.

  • ThomasD||

    Column was ok, topic is silly. At least in the sense that so many of Trumps critics are self refuting.

    There are all the more silly for thinking themselves serious.

  • DidntFuckYourMom||

    You think democrats are more pretentious about language. Christ, read any serious conservative from George Will back to Buckley back to the beginning of time.

  • Pogue Mahon||

    "Let's argue about the president's policies instead of his "grammar & style.""

    His style and grammar are pretty shit. As an asshole, he deserves to be mocked for everything and anything.

    His policies also need to be argued over. These are not exclusive things.

  • mttiro67||

    Of course, that didn't apply to Your Worship Obama, did it? He wasn't an asshole, was he? He didn't deserve to be mocked for everything, right? No. He was a great man.

  • Liberty Lover||

    The Grammar Police are alive and well online. Yet we all make mistakes, and some are very common. English is a living language, unlike Latin, so it changes over time from usage. That is why they add new words and optional spellings and pronunciations to the dictionary every year. Ain't it?

  • markm23||

    Not only that, but even centuries ago there were English grammarians that intensely studied Latin and Greek, but never came to understand their native language. I refer to those who promulgated two mistaken rules, "Never end a sentence with a preposition", and "Never split an infinitive":

    1. "Never end a sentence with a preposition" is a failure to understand an idiom that is older than modern English: turning a statement into a question by moving the verb to the beginning and/or the preposition to the end. It's also stupidly formulated - it implies that a violation of this rule is corrected simply by tacking an interjection or another clause on the end of the sentence.

    2. "Never split an infinitive" is an utter failure to recognize English's German roots. In modern High German, IIRC, "to go boldly" would be wrong; both infinitives and verbs with auxiliary verbs (like "have written") _must_ be split, with the main verb going right to the end of the sentence, no matter long and complex the sentence. Apparently the writer must prevent comprehending the main idea of the sentence for as long as possible. English relaxed that rule to the extent that "to boldly go" and "to go boldly" are equally acceptable, and sticking a whole clause in the middle of a compound verb is not acceptable.

  • Longtobefree||

    Sooner or later, democrats will accept the results of the 2016 election. Probably around 2025.

  • ThomasD||

    Recognizing the validity of a Republican President requires a Democratic interregnum. It is only once the next monstrous Republican tyrant takes office that the last one is deemed somewhat human.

  • Steve-O||

    Each agency has its own style guide, but the cues for for those style guides are generally taken from the Government Printing Office unless there is a good reason for to depart from it. This letter appears to employ the capitalization conventions in use throughout the majority of Federal Government.

    Only someone who has never left the world of academia would fail to understand that MLA, Turabian, APA, or any of the other dreadful academic style guides are not in force throughout the entire English-speaking world.

  • pabloat8000||

    Calling Trump a "doofus" after you backed Hillaryous for prez (by throwing everything you had at Trump while only touching the surface of Hillaryous) is still stupid. And it's not libertarian; it's typical lefty crap. Man, what happened to Reason?

  • Mark22||

    Man, what happened to Reason?

    I suspect toxins or drugs in the DC and LA water supplies. An infrasound attack is also a possibility.

  • TxJack 112||

    An English teacher would use MLA, not AP style. AP is for scientific articles, not literary ones. Regardless, this is perhaps one of the dumbest articles I have seen lately.

  • Wrath0fKahn||

    I have to admit, it's stuff like this that makes me loathe the left-wing, probably even more than the right. Their policies are bad, but probably not significantly worse than the GOPs (just bad in different ways, of course), but the pseudo-intellectualism and narcissism is just ludicrous, and the level of petty idiocy it leads them to is insane.

    All the embittered civil servants returning Dr. Suess books and marking up White House stationary are saying a lot more about themselves then they are about the administration.

  • JuanQPublic||

    Their policies are bad, but probably not significantly worse than the GOPs (just bad in different ways, of course), but the pseudo-intellectualism and narcissism is just ludicrous, and the level of petty idiocy it leads them to is insane.

    It's pretty amazing to watch establishment media such as the NYT and WA Post churning out clickbait headlines that are colored by a tone more familiar with playground antics. It's actually surreal. But when we look at how this media is structured, it's easy to see what motivations are at play. Pushing good journalism and think pieces doesn't fall very high on the priorities in an industry motivated by page clicks and ad revenue.

  • Wrath0fKahn||

    That's what is so baffling. The level of corruption and partisanship is parodic in degree, but I feel like I'm hallucinating every time a NYT editorial makes the rounds peddling authoritarian pseudo-fundamentalism but getting praise all the while because it's written at a 12th grade level and nobody sees through it.

  • Gasman||

    Being an english teacher does not ensure that one's grammar opinions are any better. The text of the letter was written in plain english, and was without grammar fault that would reduce the clarity or content of the text.

    Complaints from the grammarian are nothing but priggish adherence to prescriptive rules that most of us consider to be merely guidelines. Clear writing does not depend upon whether the word nation is capitalized.

  • CDRSchafer||

    Correct. Especially since people trying to show off their education tend to write run on sentences instead of being clear.

  • khm001||

    The uneducated don't understand how uneducated they are.

  • Social Justice is neither||

    And by this you mean the retired teacher and the media?

  • khm001||

    Yes.

  • khm001||

    "Don't get me wrong. The president is a huge doofus."

    I know, right? He's not some esteemed editor of an online magazine that has DOZENS of monthly readers!

  • BYODB||


    "Have ya'll tried grammar & style check?" she scrawled in the upper left corner of the letter. "Poor writing is not something I abide," she told the Times.


    So was the ol' timey accent intentional or accidentally ironic?

  • DarrenM||

    Shouldn't that be "y'all"? Not "ya'll"?

  • mttiro67||

    Yes. Another English teacher who doesn't know her a'ss from a h'ole in the gr'ound.

  • JuanQPublic||

    This "story" was perfectly emblematic of the condescending nature of the larger partisan anti-Trump media movement, including publications like the New York Times, which actually gave space to this non-story. It's reasonable to conclude that this was run as yet another piece of red meat for those who have fully bought into the great distraction known as President Trump.

    Lots of implications from the letter and the articles covering it. The narrative is a condescending one, which portrays Trump and his voters as slackjawed buffoons. Not coincidentally, this is also what fueled Trump's election as President and helped to further mobilize voters.

    This is why the vacuum of voices from and to rural, working class America has been filled with a lot of kooky material- because the media, and the Democratic Party, have failed to air many real grievances of these voters. The voters were instead pummeled with negative stereotypes about their own communities by an increasingly isolated establishment media.

    It's almost as if they want to guarantee 4 more years of Trump as president. They've been wrong every step of the way, and instead of any self-reflection, they've double-downed.

  • Benitacanova||

    Y'all? That's even worse than youse guys.

  • skunkman||

    Maybe she should have written Hey, Y'ALL, I suck at English too. And the OMG rounds it out.

    This seems like much about nothing but it really is a perfect example of what is wrong in America today. The stupid on the left labeling everything that Trump does wrong, stupid, incorrect, racist and all the other -ists. It is hard to imagine that anyone on Trump's side could justify his legitimacy more effectively than his biggest opponents.

  • GamerFromJump||

    Actually, I wouldn't say that the modifier is misplaced, due to the comma indicating that the preceding phrase belongs to the speaker, specifically in the capacity indicated by the modifier. I wouldn't have marked it, had it shown up in a paper I'd received.

  • Nuwanda||

    Yup. When you read, "OMG this is WRONG!", you know you're in excitable-mindset land. The lack of a comma after OMG makes it even more pungent.

  • skunkman||

    Good point

  • gclancy51||

    "none of Mason's corrections is correct"

    Oh dear, you just lost all the ethos.

  • a tandem||

    That is correct usage.

  • a tandem||

    That is correct usage.

  • jedy mark||

    sO gOoOo aWaAaAY y'AL iGNERnT pEPpLES yE! Visit https://happywheelsnew.com

  • MykeMorbius||

    She said, "Y'all"?? Some "English teacher". Maybe she's an Ebo

  • MykeMorbius||

    She said, "Y'all"?? Some "English teacher". Maybe she's an Ebonics teacher, instead?

  • Carter Mitchell||

    An English teacher (public school?) who doesn't understand English grammar? Shocking!

  • mttiro67||

    What this illustrates as much as anything else is what poor writers many English teachers are. Grammar and mechanics have not been taught in most English classes for at least 50 years, driven out by the English establishment itself as unworthy of serious attention. We now have a nation, including and especially teachers, that can't write Standard Edited American English with any consistency and correctness. This is especially true of online writing, made horrendously worse by the explosion of "writers" given writing jobs despite having no training and no apparent skills.

  • mttiro67||

    PS--When you read the NYT article about this, you discover that (thankfully) former English teacher Mason thinks there is a "dangling modifier" in the letter. She is wrong about that, too. There is no dangling modifier. What a disgrace.

  • technovelist||

    EVERYTHING that Trump does is proof that he is LITERALLY HITLER!!!

    Even if he doesn't actually do it, e.g., saying that all illegal immigrants are "animals".

    Yogi Berra said it best: "I didn't say half the things I said."

  • Rockabilly||

    Fuckin A!!

    The commies and socialists all agree that Trump is totally like Hitler and that's why they support gun confiscation. . .

    So the peoples won't be able to defend themselves against the trump who is LITERALLY HITLER!!!

  • Rockabilly||

    Fuck the teacher and all socialist and communist ass hats

  • mysmartstuffs||

    Not to mention, the "teacher" appears to have misplaced the apostrophe in "y'all." The apostrophe should replace the letters o & u, so should be between the y & a.

  • a tandem||

    The teacher's own letter has more errors.

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