Oh those English pet peeves

I’ve mentioned before that seeing/hearing a story misuse the English language is among my top pet peeves. Something like, “Kentucky puts their 5-1 season on the line Saturday against Vanderbilt.” Kentucky isn’t a “their,” it’s an “it.” So “Kentucky puts its 5-1 season….” is correct. Yet it’s more frequently used incorrectly than it is right.

Another has come up recently and I went to an English teacher of 33 years to confirm or correct my thought. Seldom do you ever see or hear “historic” or “historical” used properly. Most all of the time, it’s “a historic event” or “a historical event,” whatever, is the way it’s written and spoken. Now while the use of history with “a history” is correct, it’s not correct to use “a” with historic or historical. That takes an “an.”

Thursday morning, after hearing several uses of “a” with historic, I sought out an English teacher. I didn’t have to go far; the treasurer of KPA, Regina Catlett, taught English for 33 years before retiring and focusing on the family newspapers — the Sebree Banner and Sturgis News. So I just asked if English has changed since my grade and high school days when “an” was pushed at us all the time when using historic/historical.

She confirmed that with both words, “an” is correct.

We can probably thank the legislature back in the 1990s for changing English. Grammar wasn’t as important any more. Spelling wasn’t as important any more. Writing was the focus so worry about grammar and spelling in the context of writing but teaching grammar or spelling as a class was no longer needed.

And you see where that got us.

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