I had just written an email to a friend complaining about the prevalence of grammatical errors in TV news when I saw this article.
Larry Thornberry spots a grammatical error from the Reagan Library (of all places!) announcement of the burial ceremonies of former first lady Nancy Reagan:
A friend shared an email she received from the Reagan Library announcing that Nancy Reagan will “lay in repose” Wednesday and Thursday. As the kids would say, while briefly raising their untutored heads from their smart phones, “Whatever.”
Mrs. Reagan's body will lie in state.
I've also been dismayed that many announcers have Mrs. Reagan "passing away." She died, which is far more dignified than "passing;" "passing" sounds as if Mrs. Reagan was merely playing Bridge dealt a bad hand. It is also a euphemism, indicating that in our shallow society the reality and dignity of death are beyond us.
But back to mere grammar.
The ubiquity of grammatical errors in high places isn't just an annoyance for people who once diagrammed sentences in school. It is an indication that we no longer know how to think. If you don't know the difference between acting–nominative case–and being acted upon–objective case–how can you think through what a politician says in a speech?
The gender war has also produced grammatical atrocities–we generally now find ourselves (though not me!) using the plural "their" when the singular "his" or "her" is correct because of political correctness. One of my otherwise favorite bloggers drives me mad because he writes "people that." A person is a who, Mr. Tobin.
Education is now more expensive than ever in the history of the human race, and yet our grammar indicates that we are no longer able to think clearly. This can have profound implications for our politics and culture.
Assignment: Find a transcript of GOP frontrunner Donald Trump's press conference last night and diagrammed at least three sentences. Then read a speech by Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, or John F. Kennedy. Then weep.