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English Majors Strike Again

April 20, 2010 | 3 Comments

There was a flurry of mail from English teachers about a grammatical error in a rhubarb commercial on April 17, including this from Jane J. in Berkeley: "It's good that the students in the sketch about springtime and school aren't listening to the English teacher because the grammar of his lesson is incorrect: The verb in "He is feeling lousy" is a linking verb (as are "seem," "feel," "appear," "become" and all forms of "to be")and must be followed by an adjective, in this case "lousy," which is NOT an adverb. Sip some more of that gin." And Christine K. of Traverse City, MI, added: "Often people will say, 'I feel badly,' thinking they are being correct; however, 'bad' is the correct choice when 'feel' is used as a 'state of being.' " The point is well-taken. Others, however, who objected to the mispronunciation of "epitome" and "suave" just didn't get the joke.


Please note, however, that there is a big difference between "feeling poor" and "feeling poorly!" One refers to the consequences of the economic meltdown, the other to lack of proper health care.

Is there a word that means both? It'd come in pretty handy...

Sunnyvale CA - "Gateway to Central Santa Clara County"

There is no arguing with the correctness of a grammarian. Their orthodoxy can limit the fluidity and beauty of language however. Grammar is, "nice customs,"(and),"courtesy." We English Majors, "are the makers of manners...and the liberty that follows our places stops the mouth of all findfaults..."

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