My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Saturday, October 3

Modern-Day Dunces

I’ve been out of the classroom for over twenty years now and I remember before leaving, I had second and third and fourth thoughts about the state of student writing, about the future of writing in English among the students who would soon be running the country. Those thoughts had to do with their carelessness with spelling and vocabulary and sentence structure. I feared what I saw happening with the way young people wrote e-mails. And now we have texting and text-speak, an even more abbreviated version of e-mail shorthand, and emoticons to simplify what they’re feeling instead of taking the time to actually write about their feelings. All the shorthand and disregard for capitalization and spelling and diction and punctuation. Their response: “But if my reader can understand what I’m saying, what difference does it make how it’s spelled?” I care! And anyone else who cares for the value of well-written sentences and thoughts. In my teaching career I watched the slow death of the apostrophe. And, except for the keepers of the language, the writers and journalists, the apostrophe is as dead as a beached flounder. Now, I can’t read newspaper articles without seeing professional writers misuse words. A few days ago I saw someone who should know better say, “Crime is ripe in the slum areas of our cities.” He meant “rife!” Today, in an article by a USA Today writer about the Oregon killings, he said, “Authorities confiscated 13 weapons associated with the shooter, six at the sight of the killing and seven at his apartment.” Okay, was that a case of the ubiquitous spell and grammar checker making an error or was it the writer? And if the writer, why didn’t he go back and check his own copy? Or maybe he doesn’t really know it should have been “site.” I’ve already pointed out the difference between “squash” and “quash” and the people who don’t know the difference. The list of diction errors goes on and on. The number of young people who make careless writing errors goes up and up. Sloppiness in language suggests sloppiness in thinking. And today and in the future we can’t afford sloppy thoughts. Too much is at stake.
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