Tuesday, September 28, 2004

There's nothing like the classics

St. Joseph, Mo., high schools are bringing "The Elements of Style" back into the classroom. Why is that more necessary now than ever, they say? You guessed it, the Internet:
There's no "LOL" - computer message-speak for "laughing out loud" - in this book.

"U" is a letter, not a pronoun.

In St. Joseph's public high schools, instructors aren't "JK" - just kidding - about the bad writing habits students pick up from instant messaging, telephone text messaging and computer chat rooms. So they have enlisted the help of grammar heavyweights William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White - or, more properly, of their reference work, "The Elements of Style."
I'm trying to picture a high-schooler -- even a dumb, dumb high-schooler -- writing "LOL" or "JK w/ U" in a term paper, and I'm having trouble. Are kids really losing their writing skills because of text-messaging? Or is this just a way reporters try to put a modern spin on an old story? (You'll notice that no one in the story says the problem has anything to do with e-mail and text-messages, just the reporter.)

I wonder if anyone acted this way when shorthand was developed. "All these women at the secretary school are losing their grip on grammar with this shorthand; they'll never write complete sentences again!"

In any case, you can't be too upset about hundreds of kids reading Strunk and White. But that book was crafting good writers long before the Internet.

>"Elements of Style" now required reading [AP]
>"The Elements of Style" [Strunk and White]


Post a Comment

<< Home