Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Did you say "out of"?

I guess it is time for me to concede my battle against "out of" to the all-powerful "usage" rule.

In his column of March 21 in the Toronto Star, James Travers wrote, "... decision to pay executive bonuses out of a bailout."

The word "from" should replace "out of".

I heard the same term on the news tonight: "The last workers walked out of the building today." A better form would be: "The last workers left the building today."

"Out of" can always be replaced with a better choice of words. Unfortunately, "out of" has become acceptable everywhere. I have just finished reading a very good novel, and the author used "out of" many times.

It is especially discouraging to find myself making this terrible grammar mistake as well! Usage has won the battle!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Did you say "had not took?"

I must say that I am completely discouraged about the future of the English language. It is gradually and relentlessly being destroyed by people who should know better. The basic problem is that these people are totally unaware of how little they know about the structure of our language.

The problem to which I refer in the title is based on inadequate understanding of verbs in the English language. The past tense of a regular verb is formed by adding "ed" to the base. For example, the verb, "to walk" (this is the infinitive form):"walked" is the form used for the past tense.

However, many of our frequently used verbs are irregular in form. For example, "to take". The simple past tense is "took", and you say, "I took". But if you want to use the pluperfect past tense, you must use the past participle "taken" with an auxiliary verb: "I had taken".

I was disgusted this morning to read an article on the MSN Sympatico home page written by Jeffrey Baynes (MSN shopping editor)in which he said, "...and wonder why I had not took the plunge yet"!

That affects me like fingernails on a blackboard!

Refer to my previous post from March 2, 2009.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pension Benefits

It has been an enlightening experience to learn about the perks that auto workers take for granted. The news conference with details of the proposed contract with GM on March 8, 2009 provided me with information that I never had before.

The "copay" idea for health benefits, for example! As a retired teacher who stayed home to raise her children, I have a small pension based on nineteen years of teaching (the first three were part-time). I am presently paying 10% of my gross annual pension for drug and extended health care coverage. The premium I pay does NOT include dental coverage. I didn't think I could afford the extra $100 a month for dental coverage that in reality provides only 50% coverage.

But as I listened to the news conference, I learned that the pensioned auto workers had total health care benefits provided completely by their former employer. I also understand that the workers also have a complete and free package of health benefits! I don't know whether this amazing coverage is based on a group plan with an insurer, or whether it is completely financed by GM.

The head of CAW apologized to the pensioners, saying that they have the best record for looking after their pensioners! How true! I would love to only pay $15 a month for a complete benefits package!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Did you say "between you and I"?

Too many people in high places are ruining the English language. This is the outcome of grammar no longer being taught as a subject in our schools.

When I was taking my teacher training at the Ontario College of Education in Toronto in 1966, we were given a publication from the Ministry of Education which stated that grammar would no longer be taught as a subject.

The outcome of this poor idea is audible everywhere. Many principals, teachers and reporters lack an understanding of the basic grammatical function of certain parts of our language.

For example: "Between you and I" is incorrect. An easy way to test this is to change to the plural form: Would you say "Between we"? No, you would say, "Between us". Therefore, the correct form is "Between you and me".

Why is one form correct, and not the other? Why do most people have no problem with one, but can't solve the problem when "I" is in the mix?

Have you heard "for you and I"? This is not correct! Would you say "for I"? NO! You would say "for me". When "you" is added, the correct form is still "for you and me".

There are two forms of pronouns: the subjective and the objective form. The subjective form is the subject in the sentence (the subject of the verb).
I,he, she, we, and they are subjective pronouns.

Me, her, him, us and them are objective pronouns. That means that after a preposition such as between, for, from, etc., you do not use "I"; rather, you must use "me".