Friday, August 27, 2010

NJEA needs a grammar book

We feel badly for the commissioner, that he's the latest scapegoat for this $400 million debacle.

Dawn Hiltner, a spokeswoman for the NJEA.

I pay $730 a year to be part of the NJEA. The CEO makes over half a million a year in salary, benefits, and deferred compensation.

I don't feel goodly about this.

If you're not from NJ, this probably makes little sense.
Our state education commissioner Bret Schundler was fired by the governor today.
That's not the point here--a teacher union needs to be able to put together a simple statement that's grammatically correct.


Anonymous said...

You are incorrect. The word being modified here is "feel." "Bad" is an adjective and therefore cannot be used to modify a verb like "feel." "Badly" is the right word choice. Next time you want to be snarky, be right.

doyle said...

Dear Anonymous,

You can, indeed, "feel badly"--but not in the sense you might think.

If feel is used as an action verb ("When touching sandpaper I feel badly") then "badly" could be used--it would suggest that you have trouble feeling rough surfaces.

Of course "bad" is an adjective--and adjectives should be used when modifying linking verbs.

The NJEA spokewoman may or may not feel badly--none of my business--but I bet her former English teach feels bad that her erstwhile student made such a public error.

Maybe this will help:

"I smell bad" means I stink; "I smell badly" means my sense of smell is not working right--perhaps I have a bad (not badly) cold.

I am wrong about a lot of things a lot of the time, but I'm usually careful when in full snarky mode.

Fortunately, you spoke anonymously, so maybe you won't feel too bad when you realize that I had it right after all.

Leslie said...

When educators, or their representatives, don't understand this basic grammar rule, it makes me feel blue. Not bluely.

Unknown said...

"I will try too hardly to speaks real good for I can past AIMS test."

That was one of the many sentences that I had the pleasure of correcting this week.

Grammar matters.

It's not simply a matter of sounding stupid or smart or snarky. It has to do with the clarity of thought and the ability to articulate oneself.

I'm not pretending to have it all figured out (take a glimpse at my two books and you'll see the number of errors I make). However, if an educational organization makes a statement like that, there should be plenty of editors who can proofread it.

doyle said...

Dear John,

The way public discourse is going, we'll all be grunting at each other--the higher the pitch, the more meaningful the grunt.

Dina said...

I'm laughing. And crying.