Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Virginia legislators could not pass state's SOL's in English

I remember that 10th Grade English, back in 1958, alternated all year between grammar and literature. (Grammar was easier, at least when it came to tests; literature started right out with Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, with "The Cobbler".) But apparently some members of the Virginia Assembly might have trouble with Virginia’s SOL’s, given an acquittal of a man for reckless driving for passing a stopped school bus with red lights on.

Here is the statute:

"A person is guilty of reckless driving who fails to stop, when approaching from any direction, any school bus which is stopped on any highway, private road or school driveway for the purpose of taking on or discharging children."

Yes, “any school bus” is a direct object. The preposition “at” is missing (to make the phrase adverbial). Remember those parts of speech?

The story by Tom Jackman in the Metro Washington Post Dec. 1 is (website url) here.

Of course, English is a little bit tricky because it uses prepositions, often idiomatically, when other major languages use inflection (endings) more. Taking foreign languages nearly always helps a student understand English grammar. 

Here’s a vocabulary item, from a friend’s blog, “bathetic”, not “pathetic.” Look it up on Bing and English teachers, put it on a weekly vocabulary test.  You may need it for the SAT's, too.

Picture: Washington-Lee High School, Arlington VA, Quincy St, the day of John F Kennedy's inauguration, the day after a blizzard in January 1961.  From the Generals' Yearbook that year (my graduation).

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