Re: OT - Errors on cover letters

Subject: Re: OT - Errors on cover letters
From: poshedly -at- bellsouth -dot- net
To: "Susan Hogarth" <hogarth -at- gmail -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 05 Nov 2007 20:50:02 +0000

The whole thing really is a societal issue. (Remember when we had "problems", but now they're "issues"?)

As for being technically correct, two of my pet peeves are "12 a.m." and 12 p.m." There are NO such times. And if you really ARE technically correct, you MUST admit it. "a.m." stands for "ante meridian" (before meridian) and "p.m." stands for "post meridian" (after meridian). And if you are at 12 o'clock, you are ON the meridian, whether it be midnight or noon. You can't be either before or after something if you are ON the line. So to my way of thinking, the correct way to say it is 12 midnight (or at least "12 M" and 12 noon (likewise, "12 N"). "But it ain't never gonna happen" (grin) because we as a society have just gotten used to using the wrong terms for something that doesn't exist.

Having attended both public as well as parochial schools, I believe the problems we see in public schools are there because we, as a society, have failed to keep the standards as high as they were so long ago. And the problems are not just with spelling, grammar and the like, but in so many more areas -- from academics to plain ol' manners.

We, as a society, no longer expect good manners from virtually anybody.

When I was a kid (I'm 58 now), men removed their caps / hats while inside ANYPLACE. It was just second-nature. But then, kids who hated to be told "Take off your hat when you're inside!" made sure THEIR kids weren't so humiliated and never taught them what was once considered good manners. Today, when one asks another to remove HIS hat while inside, the one making the request risks being pointed out as an anal-retentive jerk.

It used to be you could walk in a crowd and if you bumped someone or if you were bumped, quick apologies were exchanged and all was well. Today, you risk being pummeled to death. (I live in metro Atlanta, and the news reports of people winding up dead because the "perpetrator" thought he was being "dissed" (disrespected) are all too frequent.)

A teacher in a suburban high school here has luckily only a broken finger today after she was thrown to the ground by a student. The male student's cell phone went off during class, and when the woman teacher told the student to give it up during the rest of the class session and reached for it, the "student" sure showed HER who was boss. Today, all his friends are standing up for him, saying he's really a nice kid. (By the way, it was an interracial incident and the parents are oh-so-silent, so go figure.)

The notes I see from teachers posted on their websites regarding homework assignments VERY frequently have misspellings and grammatical errors, or are even unclear with the instructions to complete. Maybe I'm more sensitive to this stuff because of what I do for a living (as all the rest of you do), but sometimes what is wrong should be pointed out as being wrong. except that this is a really good way to sandbag your kids' chances of getting any more good grades from "those" teachers.

The list of examples is practically endless -- from manners to academics to lifestyle choices (remember when out-of-wedlock births were at least frowned upon?).

And Yo! Susan! Today's home construction is NOT necessarily better. I recall watching entire subdivisions going in and up in virtually no time when I moved here from the north back in 1984. I recall walking through partially framed homes (before interior walls were installed) and just couldn't get over the downright crappy workmanship and corners that were cut just to get it done FAST and move on to the next house. (One realtor told me of watching a crew remove the outside insulation from one house in a new subdivision after it had just passed county inspection, then installed the exterior walls on the first house and went on to install the same insulation on the next house, etc.)

My own home (which I bought second-hand) was missing 2 support pillars in the crawl space even though the concrete pads were in place for those pillars. So 15 years after the house was built (one of those John Weiland homes which is such a big deal down here), I finally had the support pillars installed.

Off-topic or not, someone else opened this can of worms.

-------------- Original message from "Susan Hogarth" <hogarth -at- gmail -dot- com>: --------------

> On Nov 5, 2007 2:17 PM, Michael L. Wyland wrote:
> > ...
> > I'm depressed when I see poor examples of writing from people who
> > should know better. ...
> I am of course always ready to jump on the 'public skools suck'
> bandwagon. But. I think there is something we do need to consider:
> most people everywhere and at every time have been fairly poor
> speakers and writers. The *examples* we have around from, say, 100
> years ago are still around largely for a reason: people -liked- them
> and considered them worth keeping. The writing of semi-literate clerks
> and clerics and student was - deservedly - trashed.
> Now there may well *be* an overall decline. I just like to point out
> that there is likely also this 'selection bias' in operation as well.
> Think about old houses: people often think that because they see so
> many shoddy houses now and because most of the OLD houses they see are
> very nicely built, that 'they don't build 'em like they used to'.
> Well, heck, the shoddy houses of yesteryear (and there were plenty!)
> have been mercifully pulled down (alas, largely to make way for the
> shoddy McMansions of today), so we tend to see a higher -percentage-
> of quality older homes than newer homes.
> I just wonder if the same thing doesn't apply to writing and the (even
> more ephemeral) speaking.
> --
> Susan Hogarth
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

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