Believe it or not, there was a time when almost every teacher in the country was extremely serious about providing kids with a proper education ("the three R’s"), and that was all the job required. Teachers prior
to the 1970’s placed a great deal of emphasis upon correct spelling, pronunciation, and grammar. Unfortunately, the educators of today place almost no emphasis at all in these areas because so much of their time is spent dealing with things other than true education.

Before they were called "educators" teachers knew young minds could easily succumb to bad influences, so they did everything they could to counteract those influences. There was a rather famous case of school teachers calling for Dizzy Dean to be removed as a baseball commentator because his grammar was so awful. The teachers were worried kids would listen to his broadcasts and start imitating his speech. The teachers were correct, but Dizzy Dean wasn’t even the worst offender. When teachers tried to teach children how to speak properly their favorite target as an example of how not to talk was The Three Stooges.

Whether or not you are a fan of The Three Stooges, you
have to acknowledge their humor is based upon their stupidity. When The Three
Stooges were originally introduced to the public it was through short films
placed between movies at the theater, and at that time the majority of the audience
was educated enough to get the joke when words were mispronounced and grammar
was being "massacreed".

The problem is The Three Stooges got syndicated into
the television market just before the schools started to reduce their
standards, and they’ve continued to be aired ever since. As time has gone by
the teachers have stopped correcting the way kids talk, and it’s entirely
possible the teachers now don’t even know for themselves all the mistakes the
Stooges made as jokes. Far too many people these days fail to get those jokes
because the grammar they use is just as bad as the Stooges. The sad truth is
under the current education system you are far more likely to hear a student
say, "Teacher says spelling don’t count!" than you ever are to hear one say,
"Teacher says spelling doesn’t count."

This particular example of bad grammar can’t
specifically be blamed upon The Three Stooges, but neither could many of the things
for which The Three Stooges once were blamed. Deservedly or not (and, let’s
face it, they often did deserve it), the Stooges were routinely accused any time
bad grammar was used or words were mispronounced. Here are some of the now
forgotten things teachers used to try to correct.

IGNORAMUS. The last two syllables are pronounced the same as the name Amos (rhymes with
famous). People in the theaters would laugh when Moe would make the word rhyme
with "Ham us", but now most people don’t even know that word was deliberately being

LAMBAST. This is another word people no longer think of as a joke when they hear it
pronounced incorrectly. The last syllable has a long A. It’s pronounced the
same as basting a turkey; it’s not pronounced the same as blasted. Think ‘base’
not ‘bass’. This was easier to remember under the word’s original spelling:

YAHOO. If you are calling somebody a yahoo the first syllable is a long A. Teachers
once taught us a Cowboy yells, "Yah-hoo!’ but if he does it in the middle of
the street, at 2 o’clock in the morning, he’s a "Yay-who."

Have you noticed teachers actually used to tell us how to properly insult another person? My, how things have changed. (To give you some idea how much things have changed, back then when we ran to the teacher to say, "Tommy called me such and such." all we got in response was the old "Sticks and stones may break my bones…" routine. Then she’d tell us to sit down and pay attention. The only time the teacher had a reaction was if we somehow messed up the insult. If, for example, we said, "Tommy called me an uneducated iligimate!" She would take the time to explain the word was "illegitimate" and then she’d put it up on the board so we could learn how it was spelled. What she wouldn’t do in this case was tell us what it really meant. For that we were told to ask our parents, which we did as soon as we got home. Some of the mothers were reluctant to explain it, but just about everybody’s dad would bluntly say, "He called you a stupid bastard." Fortunately for the few remaining sensible and better educated people of today, most of the worst loud-mouthed whiners throwing fits out there are such uneducated illegitimates they not only don’t know what the word illegitimate means, they don’t even know what the word bastard means. All they know is it’s an insult. If they did understand it you can bet they’d put up another one of those stupid "Words Can Hurt" billboards telling us no person is illegitimate).

All that aside, there were other, less insulting,things we were taught, which nobody seems to know anymore.

FREE. When somebody gives you something for nothing you got it free. You did not get it "For free". Free by itself means "For nothing" so saying "for free" is the same as saying "For for
nothing." Teachers used to really go nuts over this one. I can’t believe it was
so quickly forgotten after having it pounded into us so hard. Millennials can
be forgiven for being ignorant about it, but Baby-Boomers, especially
conservative ones, have no excuse for forgetting this.

OUT OF. This is another one teachers used to
lose their minds over. I don’t think most kids ever understood the concept,
though. It seems to be one of those things only an adult mind can grasp. You
aren’t supposed to use out and of together. You only need one or the other.
Examples: "Four OF five dentists agree…" and "Take it OUT the box." People have
no trouble saying "Think outside the box", but if they only use the word
out they always throw in the word of. Teachers used to get the point across by
asking if you could put it "in of the box"? If you can’t put it "in of" you
can’t take it "out of". Kids may struggle with this idea, but I would hope at
least more adult conservatives could catch on.

RIGHT AND WRONG VERSUS CORRECT AND INCORRECT. Here again we have a concept young
minds struggle with. Right and wrong were only to be used for moral issues. To
steal or murder was wrong, but 2 + 2 = 3 was merely incorrect. You weren’t
supposed to use the word "wrong" for mistakes. I suppose this got lost after
the schools replaced the concept of true morality with "moral relativism".

HANGED, NOT HUNG. Teachers used to tell us pictures were hung, but people were hanged.
The difference is "hanged" tells us the specific type punishment the person received
and "hung" tells us how an object was mounted, or, if you prefer, displayed. If
you placed a person on a wall hook, and that was all you did, you could then correctly say he or she was hung on the wall. However, if a rope was used around the neck the
person was hanged.

LIGHTED, NOT LIT. Lighted means lights are installed, and lit means you started a fire.
You want a house that’s well-lighted, but you really wouldn’t want a house after it was

DON’T START SENTENCES WITH CONJUNCTIONS. (And, But, Or, Nor, etc.) You will find many people doing this today, even famous authors, but it’s not because there are any new grammar rules saying it’s okay; it’s merely because common usage has taken over. You will find plenty of
so-called experts proclaiming it to be acceptable now, but those experts never cite
chapter and verse for any formal rules from scholarly sources. All they ever do
is list places where they’ve seen it being done. On the few occasions when they
suggest it’s not a good idea to start a sentence with a conjunction, it’s only
when writing for professional purposes. They still say it’s okay when writing
fiction. The biggest reason I would disagree even with only doing it then is
because it’s just about never required. Anytime you start a sentence with ‘And’
or ‘But’ there is a sentence in front of it you could easily latch onto simply
by using a comma instead of a period. Let us use the following sentences to illustrate: "Janice wanted to clobber Robert for being so insensitive, and she desperately wished she could use a chainsaw
on him to really teach him a lesson, but she also knew the consequences of that
act outweighed whatever brief pleasure she might obtain. And she was way too
tired to feel like cleaning up the mess."

Starting the second sentence with ‘And’ is totally unnecessary. You could have just replaced
it with ‘Besides’, or you could have removed one thought from the first
sentence and combined it with the sentence behind it, thus creating two
sentences using only one conjunction each: "Janice wanted to clobber Robert for
being so insensitive, and she desperately wished she could use a chainsaw on
him to really teach him a lesson. However, she also knew the consequences of
that act outweighed whatever brief pleasure she might obtain, and, anyway, she
was way too tired to feel like cleaning up the mess."

The ‘experts’ say it’s all right to start a sentence with ‘and’ as a way to add
impact to the statement, but the reality is the impact from that last line wasn’t
lost at all when it was combined with the line ahead of it. The impact is
almost never lost when the conjunction is added to another sentence, and
learning how to write thoughts down without breaking this rule is great
exercise for the brain.

HE AND SHE INSTEAD OF "THEY". It is bad grammar to start a sentence using the singular form (he, she, it, his, hers, anybody, somebody), and end it using the plural form (they, their). Unfortunately,
everybody breaks this rule now, and this is one you can blame on the feminists.
Before the feminists got upset, teachers used to teach it was perfectly okay to
use just the word "he" when you were talking about an unspecified person who
could be either male or female. It was also okay to use just the word "she", if
you were so inclined. You could say such things as, "I don’t know yet who did
this, but he better hope I never find out." It was a serious grammatical
error to say "… they better hope I never find out." The rule against changing
from singular to plural in the same sentence still applies, but people today would
rather make the feminists happy than stick with good grammar.

The worst part is breaking this rule is completely unnecessary. This is a classic
case of emotion creating ignorance. (Funny, but I could swear feminists once
declared no woman would ever call for changes based purely on emotion). All the feminists had to do was insist you start using
the phrase "He or She" instead of just "He", and that would have fulfilled their
goal without causing people to use bad grammar in the process.
It’s not too late. Just get into the habit of saying he and she together, and
you can even use "he/she" when writing. If the feminists can put aside their
emotions long enough to think logically, even they could learn to use "he and
she" habitually. (Ooh, here’s a question: can feminists even say the word
habitually without automatically getting insulted?)

Something tells me if they ever figure that one out the answer will be no.

PS. Life to America!

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