21 April 2006

Writing Tragedies, Comedies, and Errors

Richard Lederer     Asea in marking still, the Not-So-Good Doc turned this morning for solace to the ever-playful, and occasionally instructive, Richard Lederer, whose website you should all visit and peruse, especially the various articles in the archives.  (Check out especially "Four Cheers Five Victor Borge.")  If only my students-- this year and in any given year-- would read Lederer and discover the lunacies of their own language....
    In my own marking, I'm always stunned how some students can manage high-falutin' theory but cannot differentiate between "lose" and "loose."  Especially frustrating is the general inability to coordinate subject-verb agreement; it's as if Wordsworth's tree of many one has totally buggered up language forever.  Most bizarrely, one of my students seems to think that the protagonist of Groundhog Day is Phil Collins, which, as you can imagine, puts to mind nightmarish images of Bill Murray singing "Sussudio."  **shudder**
     Also worth checking out, the classic chestnut from Lederer, "The World According to Student Bloopers," which explains that "[John] Milton wrote Paradise Lost.  Then his wife died and he wrote Paradise Regained." 

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