kind to editors and writers
By Doug Fisher
In case you missed it, September was “be kind to
editors and writers month.” Sadly, that month has
passed, but it’s never too late to remember them
with a smile, a pat on the back, or better yet, a “death
by chocolate” brownie.
To commemorate (belatedly)
the month, I offer this observation that originally ran
on the CSJ Web log:
I saw yet another of my
colleagues the other day looking as though his dog had
died. "What's wrong?" I
I just gave a grammar test to my writing class," he
In class, four or five students
demands hamstring fire departments” as a “bad” headline.
There's some debate, perhaps, but the crux was that they
did not fully understand "hamstring" as a verb.
I saw a resume that noted
the person had experience “tutoring
A professor at another university
had posted on a journalism educators' list a compilation
of actual sentences from
essays in his freshman "Mass Comm and Society" course.
His header says it all, "I couldn't make these up
if I tried."
Friends, I've decided that
many among us, as editors and educators, suffer from PGSS – Post Grammatic Stress
This is a serious affliction
as we see a wider generational gap in language and decreasing
shared cultural context
(partly because of the fragmentation of the same media
we are training our students to become part of), and as
some influential organizations of English teachers appear
to feel that teaching paragraph-level grammar is hegemonic
(while business has yet to get that message). This should
be covered by major medical. Why haven’t we heard
from the American Association of University Professors?
The American Society of Newspaper Editors?
Well, there always is the
Apostrophe Protection Society.
Do you know someone who
suffers from PGSS? Here are some warning signs:
Yes, ladies and gentlemen. PGSS lurks among us.
Here's what you can do for your friends and colleagues
It's only through your love and care – and proper
use of the language – that he or she will
get through this.