Jose Carillo's Forum


This page seeks to promote good English usage in everyday life—whether at home, at school, in the workplace, in public platforms, in the mass media, in books, and anywhere else where the printed or spoken word is used. In short, this page will serve as some sort of grammar police against blatant or grievous public misuses of English.

So, whenever you encounter such misuse, share it through this page in the spirit of constructive criticism. Our ultimate goal, of course, is to bring the misuse to the attention of those responsible so they can make the necessary correction.

The insensitivity of doctors saying that seeing them is “pleasurable”

This continues the discussion thread on my posting on “It’s terribly insensitive, obtuse to say that seeing a doctor is pleasurable” last March 31, 2013.

Feedback from Miss Mae, Forum member (April 2, 2013):

I agree! So, it’s “wife’s know best” now? How about for women also?

Feedback from Mwita Chacha, Forum member (April 4, 2013):

Sir, what makes you reckon doctors are among the most English-proficient people? I’m a medical student, and I don’t remember attending a lecture without catching a professor failing to deliver his or her message by virtue of poor English. And this applies equally to both local and imported (American) lecturers. So if asked for an opinion, I will quickly respond that doctors are among the leading less-knowledgeable people in English. There is no argument, of course, that to become a doctor you’ve to go through a relatively lengthy, sometimes demanding course; however, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee becoming at home with English.

Feedback from carmelyne, new Forum member (April 4, 2013):

Isn’t it a bit redundant to say first before the word before?

“To avoid any inconvenience, please register at the nurses’ station first before seeing your doctor.”

I would prefer:

“To avoid any inconvenience, please register at the nurses’ station before seeing your doctor.”

My reply to carmelyne:

Is it a bit redundant to use the adverb “first” in the following sentence?

“To avoid any inconvenience, please register at the nurses’ station first before seeing your doctor.”

From a purely grammatical standpoint, it would seem so, for that sentence could very well go without “first”:

“To avoid any inconvenience, please register at the nurses’ station before seeing your doctor.”

When “first” is knocked off from that sentence, however, it loses the emphasis and sense of immediacy provided to the statement by that word. That word may look grammatically redundant when that statement is in written form, but semantically, it serves to give force and emotional context to the verb phrase “register at the nurses’ station.” It’s an example of what’s loosely called in grammar as an intensifier, a semantically vacuous filler that gives force or adds to the expressiveness of an idea instead of modifying or quantifying it. In that sentence, I would think that the intensifier “first” is semantically in the same league as the adverbs “right before” and “shortly before,” but a less demanding as well as more polite action cue than these two. (Other examples of intensifiers are “up” in the sentence “She cluttered up his room with thingamajigs” and “pretty” in “He’s pretty preoccupied right now.” Those words are not absolutely necessary, but see what’s lost when we knock them off from the sentence: “She cluttered his room with thingamajigs.” “He’s preoccupied right now.”)

In this context, I don’t think the adverb “first” is in any way redundant in the sentence in question.

Feedback from giggi, new Forum member (April 5, 2013):

I propose:

“Please register at the nurses’ station before consultation.”

 I am of the opinion that the word “pleasurable” is absolutely unnecessary in the notice.  I also believe that in notices of this sort, brevity should be a key word to keep in mind.

My reply to giggi:

Great! I like the way you made the notice much more concise—from 15 words to eight words, or by almost 47%. I just have one little reservation about your use of the word “consultation,” though. It makes the notice sound somewhat officious and standoffish. I think it would sound more natural if a less imposing word or phrase is used, like, say, “consulting a doctor” or “seeing a doctor.” The notice would then read as follows:

“Please register at the nurses’ station before consulting a doctor.”


“Please register at the nurses’ station before seeing a doctor.”

What do you think?

Rejoinder from Mwita Chacha (April 8, 2013):

It’s tough to tell, Sir, why it has taken me this long to realize there’s something fatally erroneous in “my wife Elean.” Of course, if the objective was signal to Forum members that you’re married to more than one wife, I apologize for being too searching. But if my assumption is correct that you’re a monogamist, I don’t want to imagine how angrily your supposedly sole better half might react after coming across the phrase in question. She’ll rightly infer you’re practicing polygamism secretly.

My reply to Mwita Chacha:

I can appreciate your long perplexity over the form “my wife Elean,” and you need not apologize for thinking that “there’s something fatally erroneous” about that form. Whether I’m a monogamist or a polygamist, though, that form is grammatically correct and semantically aboveboard. My wife Elean knows the usage quite well, so I must assure you that she never reacts violently each time I use that form in my Forum postings and other writings. But I do realize that like you, many nonnative speakers of English have been taught to think that the noun “Elean” could only be an appositive to the noun phrase “my wife,” in which case “Elean” should be set off by a pair of commas in the composite form, as in this sentence: “I read aloud to my wife, Elean, all of the suggested versions.” When that pair of commas is supplied to set off “Elean,” it’s supposed to signal that the first-person speaker has only one wife or that he’s a monogamist; without those commas, that he has one or more wives aside from “Elean,” making him a polygamist. These, however, are fanciful and unwarranted conclusions that arise from the wrong idea that “Elean” in “my wife Elean” could only be an appositive and nothing else.

At this point, think of “my wife Elean” as a noun phrase in its own right, in much the same way as “the game roulette” is a distinctive noun phrase in the sentence “The game roulette is a highly addictive form of gambling.” When you do that, your reflexive conclusion that “Elean” is an appositive to “my wife” will collapse like a stack of cards. Indeed, in the noun phrase “my wife Elean,” the noun “Elean” is much more logically and readily viewed as a restrictive modifier of the noun phrase “my wife,” in which case there’s absolutely no need for a pair of commas to set it off from that noun phrase. (In the same way, we don’t write “The game, roulette, is a highly addictive form of gambling,” for those commas would make “roulette” a nonrestrictive modifier that can very well be knocked off from that sentence.)

To clarify this often misunderstood and misapplied usage, I discussed appositive phrases of the restrictive type (those that don’t need to be set off by commas) in an essay that I posted in the Forum on September 4, 2010, “The parenthesis and its uses: the appositive phrase.” That essay is the second of a three-part series, “A unified approach to the proper use of punctuation in English.” I suggest you read the entire series for a much better grasp of the grammar and structure of appositives and other forms of modifiers.

Parenthesis by comma
The appositive phrase 
Parenthesis by dashes and parenthesis by parentheses

Click here to discuss/comment

Click here to see all postings in this section

Redundancy as a common grammar violation

Posting by giggi, new Forum member (April 6, 2013):

Redundancy is probably one of the most common grammar violations we see/hear around.  Just this morning, I heard the following on a radio newscast: “Elevated flyover to be constructed at EDSA/Taft intersection...”

Response from Mwita Chacha, Forum member (April 8, 2013):

Not all redundancies are as bad as you argue. Sometimes even formidable English writers or speakers deliberately make pleonastic statements for the sake of adding emphasis and highliting their points. So don’t always be automatically opposed to such constructions, but take time to see whether by making a repetition the writer or speaker has managed to argue the case more cleverly. I think you’ll agree with me that “I saw a speeding car hit a bicyclist with my own eyes” is more emphatic than “I saw a speeding car hit a bicyclist.”

Click here to discuss/comment

Click here to see all postings in this section

Previous Feature:

Terribly insensitive, obtuse to say that seeing a doctor is pleasurable

Two weeks ago, I asked for reactions from Forum members to the following notice in the hallway of a multiservice medical clinic in a major Metro Manila mall:

For a more pleasurable experience, please ensure you are registered with the nurse station prior to doctors consultation.

As I said in my posting, I was aghast at its insensitivity and obtuseness. I couldn’t imagine that such bad English could come from (or be tolerated by) medical doctors and health-care professionals who, without any doubt, are among the most educated and English-proficient people in this planet.

The grammar of that notice is faulty to begin with— “nurse station” should be “nurses’ station” and “prior to doctors consultation” should be “before consulting a doctor” or, more plainly, “before seeing a doctor.” The semantics and logic of the notice are terribly flawed—there’s a troubling disconnect between the act of prior “registration” and having “a more pleasurable experience” as a result. And its language register is way off normal—sensible people simply don’t talk like that in the real world.

I therefore decided to invite Forum members and guests to share their thoughts about the English of that notice and to improve it.

The first to respond to my invitation is Miss Mae, who made this posting last March 18, 2013:

How about this?

Register first to see a doctor

After all, the notice was already posted in the hallway of the clinic. Where else should patients register but in the nurse’s station?

Hmmm… “Register first to see a doctor” is definitely an improvement over the original, but I think it has oversimplified the message to the extent of losing its intended point. That point, of course, is the advantage to the patient of registering before seeing a doctor.

Then, on March 19, 2013, I received this e-mailed response from Mr. Juanito T. Fuerte, a Forum guest and FilAm balikbayan from Virginia in the U.S.A. who describes himself as “temporarily back in the country”:

I think I understand why you’re bothered by that sentence, “For a more pleasurable experience, please ensure you are registered with the nurse station prior to doctors consultation.” But, Joe, what, in the name of sanity, are you complaining about? C’mon, man!  Who wouldn’t want to have a “pleasurable experience”! And in a doctor’s office at that?

Let’s face it, Joe. You’re sick and not feeling well, which is why you went to see a doctor, right?  Then a big, bold sign tells you, more or less, that all you have to do is “register with the nurse station” (repeat, “nurse station,” which probably should be “nurses station”) and voila! You can now have a “pleasurable experience”! Man, if anything can make a person well in an instant, those magic words surely can! 

Ooh! La, la! That’s very ingenious of that doctor to come up with those very welcoming words!

Okay, Joe, so I’m a “dirty, old man,” and I apologize for getting carried away... Seriously now, how about something like this one?

For timely processing of patients, please see the receptionist first

You may even add “at the nurses station.” But I wouldn’t bother to add “prior to doctor consultation” because it’s obvious that patients are there for that reason. (One might miss out on having a “pleasurable experience,” but I think this will pass for something an English language guru like you would prefer to read).

Juanito’s comments are well taken, but I think this suggested rewrite of his, “For timely processing of patients, please see the receptionist first,” is decidedly dangerous! Patients go to see a doctor to be treated for their ailment, not to be “processed” in the same way as raw meat to sausage. There certainly will be no pleasure in that, I assure you!

Then, on March 25, 2013, I received this e-mailed feedback from Isabel E. in Hong Kong:

Regarding this medical office notice:
For a more pleasurable experience, please ensure you are registered with the nurse station prior to doctors consultation.

Joe—how weird! Did that clinic think patients were dumb enough to expect pleasure from seeing the quack? Did you get many folks correcting it? Here are my versions:

Direct & to the point:

Registration at nurses’ station required before doctor’s consultation

For quicker, efficient service, kindly register with the nurse & wait your turn to see the doctor.

Isabel’s three suggested versions sound much closer to how that problematic notice should be phrased and expressed, but I think they still don’t have the semantic precision required for that message. So, tossing around for a better, more succinct version, I read aloud to my wife Elean all of the above suggested versions and asked her what she thought.

“I think all those versions including the original notice have missed the point,” she said, “and that point is why it’s important for patients to register first before seeing a doctor. It’s definitely not for pleasure’s sake, to be sure. It is to avoid the inconvenience of being rebuffed when they go directly to the doctor without queuing up like all patients should.”

She then suggested the following version of that notice:

To avoid any inconvenience, please register at the nurses’ station first before seeing your doctor.

That, I think, hits the nail right on the head!

Click here to discuss/comment

Click here to see all postings in this section

Is seeing doctors ever pleasurable and can it be made even more so?

Recently, while waiting for an overly late doctor at a multiservice medical clinic in one of the major Metro Manila malls, I gawked at this oddly worded notice in the hallway:

For a more pleasurable experience, please ensure you are registered with the nurse station prior to doctors consultation.

I know that for most people needing medical attention, having to consult a doctor to find out what’s ailing them is never a pleasurable experience. In fact, it’s much more often an uncomfortable or excruciating one, which can become even more agonizing when the doctor is late by over an hour for the appointment. I therefore couldn’t fathom how a medical clinic that boasts of so many topnotch doctors and health care staff could ever think or assume that to see a doctor is a pleasurable experience to begin with, and that registering beforehand with the nurses’ station can make the medical consultation experience even more pleasurable.

So I asked myself: How come that the medical clinic had posted such an outrageously insensitive and insensible statement to waiting patients? I’ve always thought that medical doctors and other health-care professionals are among the most educated and English-proficient people in this planet, so they must be at the very least above-average communicators. Why then can’t that upscale medical clinic come up with a semantically, logically, and grammatically correct statement for that very basic message?

Let me say this straight: that notice seriously and embarrassingly fails to communicate. I am therefore inviting Forum members and guests—whether medical practitioners or not—to rephrase that notice so it would no longer be an affront to the sensibility of waiting patients.

Aside from posting the best five versions of the notice in the Forum, I intend to send them to the medical clinic concerned. Who knows, that medical clinic’s management might just use one of the versions to replace the current notice and perhaps offer its contributor free medical consultation in return.

P.S. If you find other medical-care signboards of this kind, please don’t hesitate to post them in the Forum or e-mail them to me. You may offer improved versions, or we can ask other Forum members to suggest a better wording for them.

Click here to discuss/comment

Click here to see all postings in this section

In narrating personal experiences, what’s the proper tense to use?

Question by young mentor, Forum member (January 15, 2013):

Hi, sir Jose!

I would just like to ask about the kind of tense that should be used when one is discussing his/her working experiences to an interviewer, as in this sentence: “I have experience in bartending or I had experience in bartending.”

My understanding is if you are narrating your personal experiences, then the tense that should be used is in the past tense. However, in the scenario above, I’m thinking of using, “I have experience in bartending” instead of “I had experience in bartending” for the reason that I am thinking of my skill as still existing or is still true at the moment of speaking. For me, it gives a feeling of assurance to the interviewer that whoever says “I have experience in bartending” or “I have bartending experience” still possesses that skill.

Please do give me feedback on this.

My reply to young mentor:

Your question actually boils down to choosing between the present tense—“I have experience in bartending”—and the past tense—“‘I had experience in bartending”—when talking about one’s work experience.

Recall that “have” is a present-tense transitive verb that means to obtain or be in the possession of something. Thus, the sentence “I have experience in bartending” conveys the idea that the speaker acquired the experience at some time in the past and continues to be able to do bartending up to the time of speaking. In other words, the state of having that bartending experience hasn’t ended but persists up to the present, so the speaker is confident of putting that experience to good use up to now. 

In contrast, “had” as the past tense of the transitive verb “have” conveys the sense of having obtained or having gotten possession of something in the past without necessarily retaining it. Thus, the sentence “I had experience in bartending” conveys the idea that although the speaker did get the experience of bartending at some time in the past, he or she might have lost the skill or knack for it so is no longer very confident of being able to put that bartending experience to good use now. 

As implied in your observations, there is therefore a semantic wrinkle when one says “I had experience in bartending.” It actually belittles the value of the work experience being invoked by the speaker, and is almost like saying “I experienced bartending but it didn’t amount to much.” This is obviously not the sense that an applicant would want to convey during a job interview.

You are therefore absolutely right that “I have experience in bartending” or ‘I have bartending experience”—both present tense forms—is the grammatically and semantically correct statement to use in this particular situation. Saying it will give assurance to the interviewer that the applicant still possesses that skill and, this being the case, should be seriously considered for the job at hand.

Follow-up question by young mentor (January 21, 2013):

Hi, sir!

Thanks for making things clear about this topic.

Truly, you are very helpful to me not only to me but to everyone who desires to learn the English language. I do admire the way you explain things. It’s very comprehensible.  

By the way sir, just for confirmation: Would it be safe to say that what commands the tenses in the English language is the context and the meaning that the speaker/writer would like to convey? Further, that if we are to study tenses in grammar books, the uses of the tenses listed in each book would be just mere guides in constructing sentences and would by no means be exhaustive.

My reply to young mentor:

You’re most welcome, young mentor, and thanks for the compliment!

Yes, definitely, context and sense are what command the tenses in the English language, and the strict prescriptions for them in grammar books are just for stand-alone sentences. In narratives and expositions, there’s great flexibility in the use of the tenses. Indeed, the actual determining factors for tense usage are the point of view and the timeline used by the writer or speaker. In essays, poetry, and fiction, for instance, most writers consistently use the past tense when speaking about things that happened in the past, but every now then, we come across writers who always speak in the present tense and recount everything in the past as if they are happening right at the moment of speaking. This is the stuff that stream of consciousness is made of. What this means is that the tenses are just formal guideposts for us to distinguish between events and things in the past, in the present, and in the future. The tenses are far from absolute, but we need them to make better sense of our own experiences and thoughts as they happen in time and to communicate them contextually and meaningfully to other people.

Click here to discuss/comment

Click here to see all postings in this section

Philippine education seems caught in a cul-de-sac with no way out

I am posting in the Forum a letter dating back to October 28, 2012 that I had most unfortunately glossed over because it was sent to me as an attachment to an e-mail rather than in the body of the e-mail itself, which was blank—thus giving me the impression that it was spam or malware. Only much later, when I finally found the time to spare to check my e-mail box more closely, did I find out that it wasn’t. The attachment was a letter addressed to me that came from Mr. Antonio Calipjo Go, academic supervisor of Marian School of Quezon City, who has been engaged these past several years in a lone crusade against error-riddled public school textbooks.

Here’s his letter full:

28 October 2012

Dear Mr. Carillo,

Peace be with you.

The Department of Education (DepEd) is at present implementing the K to 12 Program in all public schools. Nowhere is the adage “Haste makes waste” more evident than in this, the impending disaster that the K to 12 will soon turn out to be if stopgap and corrective measures are not immediately adopted. I will concentrate on the one area that’s really close to my heart—the textbooks that the students are using. “Textbooks” also happen to be at the very heart of the rot that’s infecting Philippine Education and making it sick.

Last August, a group of public school teachers came to see me at Marian School and asked me to look into the teaching module that they are currently using in Grade 7. The “Learning Package for Grade 7 English” (First Quarter Package; Second Quarter Package; Complete Package for 4 Quarters) is the sole basis of all teaching and learning processes in the Grade 7 level of all public elementary schools in the country at present. It is the one instructional material used in lieu of the textbooks that they were supposed to have been given to use but haven’t and therefore cannot. This is anomalous, as the DepEd has created a new curriculum without bothering to prepare all the basic tools with which to implement it. So I promised the teachers I would, and I did. I discovered 658 errors, culled from just 172 pages! This is already very bad but it gets even worse. Despite the fact that the second quarter officially ended last October 12, the third and fourth quarter components of this module have not yet been written! What will the teachers use when classes resume on November 5?

I have summarized the issues I’m bringing to your attention into five areas of concern:

  1. The 172-page “Learning Package for Grade 7 English” contains 658 errors, for an average of 3.8 errors per page! This is tantamount to teaching errors rather than lessons.
  2. The third and fourth quarters have not been written as of this day.
  3. Why are there no textbooks for use in Grade 7?
  4. All textbooks presently used in all public schools are all old titles. Therefore, it follows that not one textbook used is compatible with the pedagogic prescriptions and requirements of the new K to 12 Curriculum.
  5. The K to 12 Program should have undergone pilot-testing first. The tools for implementing this new curriculum—the textbook being the most important of them all—should have been made ready. The contents of these textbooks, learning packages, teaching modules or instructional materials should have been thoroughly screened for errors.

I wrote DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro about these concerns, and also the Instructional Materials Council Secretariat, the Bureau of Elementary Education and the Bureau of Secondary Education but not one of them responded. I hope I can get you to see a story in this, enough to get you to write about it. It is a story that has all the makings of a tragedy.

I do not know whom the DepEd commissioned to write this so-called “learning” package but a cursory scanning will immediately give the reader the antsy feeling of the being stuck in reverse. It’s the reign of errors all over again! You can download the whole crappy lot through and see for yourself the extent of its decrepitude. At the end of this “Learning Package” is a Q&A portion. Please read the messages sent by the teachers and I’m sure you, too, will want to cry—out of desperation. Philippine Education seems to me to have come to a cul-de-sac from which there is no escape. And nobody seems to care!

Thank you, Sir, for continuing to educate us about the proper use of the English language. You’ve got a lot of work ahead of you, given the quality of our present batch of students and teachers. Take care. God bless you.

Sincerely yours,
Antonio Calipjo Go
Academic Supervisor

Click here to discuss/comment

Proposed rewrite of inscrutable English of magazine’s foreword

New Forum member Menie made the following posting that offers a suggested rewrite of the seriously flawed English of a college magazine’s foreword that was sent to me last August 8, 2010 by Prof. R. Muthukumar of the Department of Business Administration of NMSSVN College in Nagamalai, Madurai, India:

I see that no one has taken up the challenge of translating this to something which can be understood at first reading, so I will give it a try. Step one is a literal translation: substituting the weird words and phrases with understandable words or phrases, but retaining the general style of the sentences.

Dear Readers,

We are proud to say that this College Annual Magazine is a product of the hard work of qualified people.

It is an announcement that our college has a collection of versatile people who have clear ideas about prevalent issues in society. We believe that our readers will be invigorated after reading these articles, which deal closely with sensitive and unique ideas.

The Editorial Board thanks the members for their meritorious and sincere effort in bringing this Magazine out. We also thank Management for their encouragement and cooperation toward the successful completion of this annual book.  

Once again we bow our heads in recognition of Management’s untiring effort to uplift the condition of the college staff and to continue the progress of our college.

We also thank M/s Edison Printers for their good and prompt service.

Having understood what they are trying to say, we can then attempt to rewrite it in a better style, but still retaining all of the ideas expressed above.

Dear Readers,

We are proud to present to you this College Annual Magazine.  

This is a collection of views on prevalent issues in our society, which are examined with sensitive and unique perspectives. We hope that you will find these articles interesting and that these will move you to take further action.

We wish to thank the contributors and magazine staff for their hard work and dedication.

We also thank the school administration for their encouragement and support toward the successful completion of this magazine. We take this opportunity to acknowledge their untiring effort toward the betterment of the college staff and the continuing progress of our school.

Lastly, we thank M/s Edison Printers for their excellent work.

Click here to discuss/comment

Click here to see all postings in this section

“Sick books” issue goes off the deep end, then bubbles up again

There was this story in two of the broadsheets last November 9 that Education Secretary Armin Luistro visited “sick books” crusader Antonio Calipjo Go recently and encouraged him to resume his terminated crusade. This was after Mr. Go announced a few days back that he was shelving his one-man advocacy for good, having been intensely pilloried instead of being thanked for it by the publishers, authors, and editors of the targeted textbooks.

Well, what a coincidence! Just two days before that, a new member of Jose Carillo’s English Forum—his username is pedestrian—asked me to explain what those textbook errors were all about in the first place. He was belatedly responding to a June 6, 2009 editorial of The Manila Times that commented on the several dozens of questionable English passages that Mr. Go had found in six locally produced English-language textbooks. Pedestrian was saying that since there was no explanation for those errors, it’s difficult for him to learn from them.

I told pedestrian that then and now, I just didn’t have the time to critique all those problematic textbook passages, but I consented to doing the following four samplers just to give him some idea of what the problem is all about:

(1) “The rain and storm are needed to snuff out the heat in the air.” There’s nothing wrong with the grammar of that sentence, but its sophomoric use of the phrasal verb “snuff out” makes it sound infantile. To “snuff out” is much too strong and emotional a verb phrase in that statement, for it means “to extinguish (as in smothering the flame of a candle), make extinct, kill, or execute.” And to say that the rain and storm are “needed” to do that snuffing out action on heat is unwarranted personification, or inappropriately representing rain and storm as humans. Here’s a more objective, level-headed way of wording that sentence: “The rain and storm remove heat from the air.”

(2) “Just remember this acronym—DOCSiShQACNMN to make it easy for you to remember the order of adjectives in a series.” It should be obvious even to a preschooler that this is ridiculous advice—to use a tangled, tongue-twisting, terribly-hard-to-recall acronym as a mnemonic for remembering the order of adjectives in a series. We normally expect to get such advice from simpletons, not educators or textbook writers.

(3) “Robert Louis Stevenson wrote the novels ‘The Treasure Island’ and ‘The Kidnapper.’” This factually erroneous sentence is the result not only of the ignorance and laziness of the textbook writer but also the carelessness and cluelessness of the textbook editors. The correct titles of those very popular novels are Treasure Island—without the article “The”—and Kidnapped—not “The Kidnapper.” It’s really unthinkable for the author of that book not to know this, and this kind of factual error makes that textbook statement sound almost like a sick joke.

(4) “My sister is old. She can accompany me to the outing.” This statement is semantically faulty and almost laughable. It gives the idea that old age is a prerequisite for someone to qualify as a companion to an outing. This time, the problem is both semantic and grammatical. What the writer obviously wanted to say is, “My sister is old enough. She can accompany me to the outing.” The adjective “enough” would have been enough to make that statement logical, but the textbook writer evidently didn’t have enough semantic sensitivity to make that distinction.

I told pedestrian in closing that I wish someone would pick up after me and find time to dissect the remaining problematic textbook passages, which I daresay won’t be remedied by simply providing supplemental notes to the flawed textbooks, as had been done by the DepEd. Those textbooks should be withdrawn from circulation as soon as practicable, then replaced with textbooks written by semantically competent authors.

Read The Manila Times editorial on the textbooks with erroneous English!

Read “Luistro backs Go crusade” in the Philippine Daily Inquirer now!

Click here to discuss/comment

Click here to see all postings in this section

And we thought we’d find typos only in newspapers and books!

Mispelled Road Sign

I don’t think we can blame this one on the influence of too much short-cut texting on the mobile phone.

What do you think?

Here’s the story from Yahoo!

Cringe-inducing typo outside N.C. school
By Brett Michael Dykes

Well, here's something to make your old English teacher gasp in horror: A road contractor hired to paint the word “school” on a freshly paved stretch of road near Southern Guilford High School in North Carolina rendered the traffic area in question a “school” zone.

But fear not for the (surely confused) youth of Greensboro! The contractor, a company called Traffic Markings, has already corrected the error.  Here's visual evidence, courtesy of local TV station WXII.

WXII had some fun with the typo on the air too:

This isn’t the first such mishap on record. Last year, for instance, a Miami-area road crew offered the variant spelling of “scohol,” while in 2007, a team in Kalamazoo, Mich., managed the same “h” and “c” reversal.

Chalk it all up to a bad day’s wrok.

Click here to discuss/comment

Click here to see all postings in this section

Reporting English misuse:

You can report the English misuse by e-mailing a verbatim transcription or an image in GIF or JPEG format to When doing so, please be mindful of the laws against libel and oral defamation. Our interest is not to humiliate English-language offenders but to help them rectify the error, so there’s no need to identify them in your messages. Just indicate the city, district, street, and general location where you saw or found the particular English misuse to make it easier for those concerned to be alerted about it.

We will also need your full name, residence, e-mail address, and telephone number so we can confirm with you before the posting is made on this page. Just let us know if you don’t want to be identified in the posting so we can withhold your identity. Please keep in mind that this page will be moderated and will not entertain scurrilous reports nor those sent in by anonymous sources.

That said, you can now get started in doing volunteer police work for the sake of good English! It should be a truly gratifying educational experience and you and other English lovers can have lots of fun besides!

Copyright © 2010 by Aperture Web Development. All rights reserved.

Page best viewed with:

Mozilla FirefoxGoogle Chrome

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional

Page last modified: 15 April, 2013, 8:40 p.m.