« Are Common-Core Conspiracy Theories Drowning Out Real Issues? | Main | Louis C.K. Offers Another Take on Public Education »

How Do You Address Frequent Student Grammatical Mistakes?

In his New York Times column today, economist and professor Paul Krugman asks the following question: "How can we incentivize students to stop using 'impact' as a verb?"

That word grates on professors and certain Education Week Teacher bloggers alike. It's become one of those words where use is acceptable as a matter of popular reinforcement, like with the word "selfie," because we need a word for "taking a picture of yourself" and that's the best we collectively could do. But that doesn't mean it's right

I can't say I have perfect grammar, but there are certain things that people, bless they're hearts, repeatedly get wrong. When your a teacher, how do you deal with it?* Your-teaching-now-grammar.jpg

In third grade, my homeroom teacher had a tendency to punish students for saying the expression "um." She taught us that "um" represents a poor habit. On at least one occasion, I remember a peer trying to answer one of her questions, saying the verboten word, and being cut off for it. (That student might have been me.)

Did her efforts help me in the long run? Um, no. I'm as bad as anyone. But then, in her defense, she had a mountain of pop culture to overcome. Heck, the similar expression "er" was even a central component of a moment in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire:

... And finally give me the sound often heard,
During the search for a hard-to-find word...

So teachers (and English and language arts teachers specifically, I suppose), can you help us answer Krugman's question: How do you approach grammatical issues that students frequently get wrong?

*Besides "your" issues, the thing that actually bothers me the most is "there's" in reference to multiple objects. "There are," people.

Image credit: Ross Brenneman

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog


Most Viewed On Teacher



Recent Comments