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11.06.2011

'I did WELL' not 'I did good.'

All their lives I've been correcting the kids grammar and speech. Every day there a 'well not good' 'I've not I' and so forth. With Doc, it's still a lot of basic pronounciations (supposed, not 'opposed to do that') and Kit has taken on an affectation where he drops Ts (buh-ins instead of buttons, nuh-in for nothing and so on). Some of it is an impossible reach, after all even newscasters have completely dropped the correct use of the word 'well' for 'good', and a lot of people don't care. Tio has taken to saying, "Potato - Potah-to" as though it makes no difference. So why should I care?

There are a lot of reasons for kids to learn proper speech. First, learning proper speech enhances their vocabulary and improves their communication. Second, when you speak properly, people take you more seriously. Being taken seriously by their grammar may not be something they need now but it will be important in the future. Thirdly, people assume you are more educated when you use good speech and that can open doors with employers and social connections (depending on what social circles you move in). Again, not something critical right now but it will be before long. These things are hard to impart to young boys who can barely see a month out, let alone their adult life. I explain it to them anyway and insist they comply because it's part of what parents do to prepare their kids for the world.

But there's one other reason I teach them good grammar: respect. I believe that speaking well is part of the respect we show ourselves and each other. It's like wearing the right clothes to work, or putting on a suit for a funeral, or shaking hands, and saying 'please' and 'thank you'. Manners do matter. Good grammar doesn't take more time to learn or do, it just takes more effort, which is the same with all forms of sharing respect.