A Grammar Lesson

By Anthony Rebora — February 26, 2008 1 min read
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In a really nice post, Renee Moore shares some early-career excerpts from her personal teaching journal. Here, in an absolute gem, our young English teacher finds a teachable moment in the cultural preconceptions (not to say cluelessness) of an ACT practice item:

Today during our class opening grammar activity, we came across the following sentence: “I took my dog Sam to the lake who was lame.” One of the students found this in an ACT practice exercise. The author’s intention is to create a misplaced modifier by suggesting the lake is crippled rather than Sam, the dog. However, my students all interpreted the word “lame” in its more popular connotation “boring.” Hence, their “correction” of the sentence was to change WHO to WHICH. The incident became a teachable moment for me to explain cultural bias.

You have to admit, the kids were right: From a teenager’s perspective, it does sound pretty lame.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Blogboard blog.