Guarding the language

They don't make English teachers like they used to.English teachers used to be grey-haired scolds, usually female, who wore scratchy sweaters year-round, painted their fingernails and lips scarlet, and fought an epic war against linguistic barbarity with that most terrible of weapons: the red ballpoint pen.A paper could not be corrected properly, after all, in any color other than that of blood. And that's what they called it: "correcting." Not "grading" or "evaluating." Correcting, the presupposition being that anything submitted by lowly students could only reek with error.English teachers made you write papers on banal subjects. Then they flailed your work with those dreadful p...

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