What in the world do they DO at school these days?
I haven’t been inside a classroom for decades, and I can’t experience today’s educational procedures through my children, because I don’t have any. But I keep hearing these stories about how parents are complaining that their kids are given TOO MUCH work—particularly homework. And I just can’t connect that with the products of the educational system with whom I come in contact every day.
They can’t spell, they can barely read. They don’t know how many ounces are in a pound. I’m not sure they know how many inches are in a foot or a yard…we don’t have much call to use those measurements at the restaurant. Having been raised with digital everything, they can barely tell time on a regular clock with hands. Without the register telling them how much change to give back to a customer for his twenty-dollar bill, they would be utterly confounded.
Given these glaring examples of the absence of education in education these days, I suppose it’s WAY too much for me to ask that they have some grasp of basic grammar. After all, terrible grammar has become completely ubiquitous. There are days when I think if I see one more misplaced or inappropriately added apostrophe, I might just explode.
People! Apostrophes are meant to show possession, or to replace letters left out when forming a contraction. There is no apostrophe in a plural word. I don’t care whether it "looks right" or doesn’t. It’s "bananas," not "banana’s." It’s "potatoes," not "potato’s." Nor "potatoe’s." And, by the way, the singular form of that word is not "potatoe." Augh!
And then there’s poor little "its." It’s that confusing little word that doesn’t seem to know its own spelling. Here’s the thing. "It’s" means "it is" or "is has." If you want to show that something belongs to "it," you use the word "its." NO APOSTROPHE. Just i-t-s.
I always thought that counter-intuitive. "Its" shows possession, so it should be "it’s." Right? Wrong. Here’s a little insight into this issue that I discovered in Lynne Truss’s delightful little book, "Eats, Shoots, and Leaves." "It" is a pronoun.Like "you," or "they," or "we." Possessive pronouns do not use apostrophes. It is "yours, theirs, ours." Not "your’s, their’s, our’s." Ergo, it’s "its." Not "it’s." There you go.
Okay, that concludes today’s grammar lesson. Now…does anyone know a simple, fool-proof way to teach (adult) children how to make change? I’d be willing to part with serious money for that particular exercise…