Saturday, October 21, 2017

Good Lord! It's the Pat's Schoolhouse ad again.

About a month and a half after I posted this blog article, I found in my letter box yet another ad from Pat's Schoolhouse. I was about to leave for the airport at the time and so I took a photo of it, stored the photo in my online album, forgot about it, had a good holiday although I had a fall while climbing a mountain, underwent medical treatment, recovered (to a degree) and this morning, as I was going through my online photos, I came across the photo I took almost three months ago and here it is:

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Don't buy a Webster's Dictionary!

When I was about 7 years old, I went to a book shop to buy a dictionary. There were many dictionaries and I didn't know which one to choose. In the end I picked the one that had the most attractive and colourful jacket design. When I got home with my new purchase, my grandpa who was visiting us at the time told me that I had bought the 'wrong' dictionary. 'Avoid Webster like the plague', I was told.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Mr Goh Chok Tong's Facebook post

Don't ask me anything about the family dispute. I was abroad when it happened and I just heard about it when I got home. A person's family dispute is a private matter and even if members of the family choose to air their quarrel online, I take no interest in it. But I'm more interested in how people express their thoughts in words. This afternoon, I saw this Facebook post by Goh Chok Tong, the former Prime Minister of Singapore:

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Pat's Schoolhouse keeps getting its grammar wrong

Those who follow my blog will recall that Pat's Schoolhouse sent me an ad just last month and I wrote about its flawed grammar here: Pat's Schoolhouse Again! I stressed 'again' in the title because in 2016, the school shoved a badly written advertising flyer into my letter box and I blogged about it in this post: An Ad by Pat's Schoolhouse. A couple of weeks ago, the school did it again - it got someone to stuff yet another promotional flyer into my letter box. And Pat's Schoolhouse which got its grammar wrong in two previous ads did it again. This is what it wrote in the ad:

Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Kamm-ouflaged Pedant - a review of Oliver Kamm's book on English usage.

There are three different kinds of people who write books on grammar and usage. The first consists of linguists and grammarians who have proper academic credentials in the study of language. The second group is extremely rare - writers who have absolutely no knowledge of grammar and I really mean zero knowledge. Most ignorant people aren't that shameless. Singapore's Speak Good English Movement is the only organisation I know that writes grammar books that are totally wrong and the people who shamelessly write them are clueless about English grammar as my recent review of their latest grammar book demonstrates. The third group that writes books on grammar and usage is made up of mainly journalists. Unlike the second group that knows nothing about grammar and cannot even construct grammatical sentences themselves or make an official speech without errors, these journalists usually have some working knowledge of grammar and they can write beautiful prose but this knowledge is too skimpy for them to write books on grammar and usage.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Pat's Schoolhouse again!

Last year, I blogged about an error in Pat's Schoolhouse's advertisement. They wrote in their ad:
Pat's Schoolhouse provides a distinctly unique education for over 28 years...
As I explained in my blog post, the sentence should read: 'Pat's Schoolhouse has been providing a distinctly unique education for over 28 years...'

I've just received in my letter box Pat's Schoolhouse's 2017 ad and this time, the flyer looks even more attractive than their 2016 ad:

I am quite pleased to say that this time, they didn't use the simple present. The first sentence of their ad which contains only 3 sentences reads:

Sunday, April 9, 2017

LTA's illiterate poster

In response to my last post which includes a photo of an embarrassing poster by the Land Transport Authority (LTA), a reader posted this comment in a vigorous but futile attempt to defend LTA's indefensible blunder:



Friday, April 7, 2017

Why pick on shopping centres in Singapore?

Last week, the Straits Times published a photo of a poster found in a shopping centre in Singapore that contained grammatical errors:

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Speak Good English Movement's new grammar book - PART 2

In this article, I will examine in greater detail one or two more of the many errors made in the new grammar book of Singapore's Speak Good English Movement (SGEM) called Grammar Rules. I will also perhaps take a peek into the thoughts of the writer or writers of this highly flawed grammar book. If you want to read PART 1 of this article, please click here.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Tense because of tenses.

In my previous post on the many errors in the new grammar book of the Speak Good English Movement, one Renfred Tay in a public Facebook posting objects to my use of the simple present tense 'give' in the first sentence below:

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Speak Good English Movement's new grammar book.

The Straits Times wrote yesterday about a new grammar book published by the Speak Good English Movement (SGEM) and I promptly obtained one for myself. Here it is:

Friday, March 17, 2017

TEDxNUS, mind your language!

I got a message this morning from Facebook about an event which will take place tomorrow and it was probably sent to me because a friend of mine will be attending it. That's how Facebook works. I clicked on the link and was led to the homepage of TEDxNUS.

I don't know much about the watered-down version TEDxNUS but I do know that TED hosts a lot of very interesting talks, some of which I have viewed with great delight on YouTube. Whatever the quality of TEDxNUS may be, the very short write-up on its home page is a bit of a letdown: TEDxNUS can't even get its language right.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Singapore's English Movement in error again.

Elsewhere in this blog, I have explained why I no longer read Singapore's Straits Times but this afternoon, a friend referred me to a letter written by Goh Eck Kheng, the Chairman of Singapore's Speak Good English Movement, which was published in the Straits Times on the Forum page on 13 February. I have furnished  irrefutable evidence in almost 100 blog posts why I can justly conclude that anything written by the Movement is bound to contain some language error but when my friend first brought the letter to my attention, I thought it was rather presumptuous of him to expect that there would be grammatical errors in such a short letter. Writing a grammatically correct letter should not be an impossible task for anyone who has been through some basic education in English. To oblige my friend, I thought I should just cast an eye on the first and last paragraphs of the letter and I would then tell him the letter was flawlessly grammatical. I could hardly believe my eyes as I read those two paragraphs!

You may click here for the full letter in the Straits Times website. It's really a very short letter with only 11 sentences and for reasons which are beyond even my wildest imagination, each paragraph has only one sentence.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Liberal Loonies Linguistically Trumped.



I've been told that it's very hard to find a single educated person in the US and you can walk the entire length and breadth of this massive country for months without encountering a single literate person but I'm sure that's a cruel exaggeration. But it is a fact that whenever a person exposes his lack of education on an internet platform, he is more likely to be American. Years ago, on an Internet forum, a few Americans made fun of me because I spelt 'spelt' that way. They were insistent that 'spelled' was the only correct spelling for the past and past participle of the verb and anything else was an error.

Friday, January 20, 2017

What the dickens!

Acceptance of multiculturalism in the 21st century has brought about a spirit of tolerance that sometimes leads to amusing results in the study of grammar. While grammarians in the early 20th century were free to dismiss as barbarous illiteracy what appears to us today to be no more than a minor syntactic inelegance, grammarians these days hum and haw when confronted with an obvious solecism and they do all they can to excuse the error as an acceptable variant when it clearly isn't. In the same spirit of pusillanimity, linguists these days are quick to remind their readers that the grammar they write is descriptivist and they turn their noses up at the works of grammarians of a previous generation which they label as 'prescriptivist'.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Let's talk about old age.

When I turned 40, I sat in front of my birthday cake with four lit candles on it and I recited Yeats' poem to my kids, the crucial lines of which are:

Friday, November 25, 2016

National Errors

In many of my earlier blog posts, I have said scathing things about the Speak Good English Movement. And there is perfect justification for what some may wrongly see as my overreaction. In many of these blog posts, I merely expressed surprise and sometimes horrified shock that the Speak Good English Movement could be so incredibly wrong in almost everything they wrote. Click on the above link if you want to experience the same shock at what the Speak Good English Movement is capable of. Don't forget - these are the people who say categorically that 'Alan and George works as a team' is grammatically acceptable.

Sometimes it is possible to tell by someone's error where he's from. Some errors can be categorised according to national boundaries. What makes the Speak Good English Movement so peculiarly bad is not only do they make language errors that are commonly found in Singapore but they also make countless errors that no Singaporean ever makes. When it comes to English grammar and usage, the Speak Good English Movement is just irredeemably and hopelessly abysmal and as I have repeatedly said, the only decent thing to do is to disband the Movement. Singapore does not need an English Movement which is totally clueless about English grammar.

Most organisations aren't that bad. Yesterday, I received an advert in my letter box from a private school called Eye Level. It's a glossy colourful flyer.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Illiterate Graduates?

Singapore is a land of paradoxes. It's such a small island that you can't even run a marathon in a straight line without hitting the sea and yet it's a huge economic powerhouse and it tops the educational charts every year and is recognised as the country with the best educational system in the world.

But there are other paradoxes that Singapore can't be proud of. I have shown in more than 80 posts in this blog irrefutable evidence that the only thing Singapore's Speak Good English Movement knows about English grammar is perhaps the spelling of the word 'grammar'. Apart from that the Movement is totally ignorant of English grammar and usage and it has been giving erroneous grammar tips since the day it started and continues to dish out 'advice' on grammar that is so obviously wrong that I am compelled to dub it Singapore's Illiterate Movement.

Recently, I posted a photo of a poster in the National University of Singapore that contained a surprising error.  Shortly after that, I posted another illiterate poster this time from the Land Transport Authority. Just yesterday I took this pic of an ad by NUSS (the National University of Singapore Society) which proudly calls itself on its website 'The Graduate Club'. The ad appeared on a shuttle bus in NUS:

Saturday, November 12, 2016

What my crystal ball says about the new era of President Trump



The world will soon be abuzz with news of the world's most fashionable First Lady of all times. She will be what Lady Diana used to be but without any of Diana's many problems. She has poise, charisma and incredible good looks. She is one of those women who look fantastic from any angle and at any moment of the day. She will be the next major trendsetter in the world of fashion.

The English language is alas inadequate in describing such a woman succinctly. The only word I can come up with that fits such a description is 'Trumptastic'. I predict it will be the first new word to be accepted by the OED in 2017. It's not a word you can use lightly on just any pretty woman. To be Trumptastic, you've first got to be 'unbelievably beautiful' (if I may borrow her husband's favourite phrase). 'Trumptastic' can only be used to describe a woman of exquisite beauty and elegance. And in recognition of her husband's love for superlatives and perfection, the word must always be spelt with an initial capital or, better still, all letters in upper case and it should be followed by no fewer than three exclamation marks - TRUMPTASTIC!!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Puzzling prepositions? Why grammarians should stop being contrary.

No, there's nothing puzzling about the preposition. The OED and all other English dictionaries are very clear on what a preposition is. It's just that sometimes, some grammarians think they need to spice up grammar a bit and that's when they do funny things.

Let's look at these sentences:

1. He came after breakfast.
2. He left before I had drunk my coffee.
3. What did you do it for?
4. He felt bad, for he knew he was wrong.