Grammar Refresher

As Dad, Steve Dettman and I were enjoying breakfast at Eva’s last Saturday morning, my High School English teacher entered the diner with her husband, the retired school district superintendent, and their two sons who had arrived in town for Easter. She spotted me right away and walked over and gave me a big hug, making me feel like I was her class pet though it’s been over three decades since I sat in her class. Out of the blue, Dad mentioned to her that he and I had “attended the previous night’s Good Friday service” and then something about “still trying to get me to understand the difference in the usage of the words lay versus lie.”

Easter Sunday, Dad and I ran into “teach” again and she informed me that she had prepared a special treatise just for me on common errors in English. I responded that I still didn’t know where Dad had come up with this nonsense about my ability to discern the use of “lay” versus “lie” in everyday grammar. She reassured me that it was all only Dad being his mischievous self and that it was all in jest. Today, I received a notice from a forum that I subscribe to about a recent “article of the day”. The article is titled “Death to Common Grammatical Errors – 10 Commonly Confused Words” and the first item it discusses is, lo and behold, lay vs lie! How ironic is that? I’ll just assume that my Father had recently stumbled across that text while surfing the net and it came to mind upon the appearance of my English teacher Saturday and let the matter rest, though it does seem coincidentally odd.

The English teacher, Mrs. Margaret “Maggie” Slauter, who stays in touch with Dad weekly at College Avenue Methodist, was and still is one of my favorite teachers and the favorite for English. Before her class, my grammar was suspect despite being schooled by some of the best (Bullock, Gough, Klidenst and Gouveia), but after Mrs. Slauter’s coaching, I was able to speak English “real good like!”

Sorry – only “jesting”!

Steve D.

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