Tuesday, March 4, 2014

MOE's Language Experts Need Voice Training

Anyone who has read that disgraceful book ENGLISH AS IT IS BROKEN by the MOE's panel of English language experts cannot help but see that these experts are so ignorant of the rudiments of English grammar that they sometimes fail to answer a question from the public but they think they have given an answer simply because they don't even understand the question. Can you believe that? They have such a poor understanding of simple English that they can't even fully grasp the question that is put to them in order to give an answer. I'll give you a stark example of this below.

First, it's important to remind my readers that the book is in a question-and-answer format. Newspaper readers send their questions on English grammar to the newspaper editor and the MOE's English specialists write their answers.

Here's a question from a reader. The reader asks two questions but let's just look at the first question asked. What he wants to know is which of these two is correct: "This is subjected to..." or "This is subject to...".  Be amazed at what the language experts from the MOE have to say!

Let's rephrase the question asked. What's the difference, if any, between "This is subject to..." and "This is subjected to..."? The experts begin by stating that the difference is very subtle. And they proceed to explain the difference.  They give an example of how "This is subjected to" can be used. They talk about people who are "subjected to" some rules.

In the next sentence, the experts proceed to explain what "This is subject to..." means but they fail miserably. The reason for their failure is they do not understand what in grammar is called the voice. Yes, you probably now understand the reason for the facetious title of this post.

What the language experts don't realize is the second sentence explains the same thing as the first sentence. In the first sentence, they write, "If people are subjected to the rules...", they are using the passive voice to explain the question asked by the reader.  The reader asks what "This is subjected to..." means. That's the passive voice.  As far as the first sentence goes, it's ok. But the second sentence is just a repeat of the first.  They write, "If you subject someone to something". That's the active voice.  But it means the same thing as "If someone is subjected to something" which is the passive voice.

In other words, the experts have not even begun to talk about "This is subject to..." at all.  They have only dealt with "This is subjected to..." in both the passive and active voices which is not what the question is about. But the experts think they have addressed "This is subject to..." when they write "If you subject someone to something..." simply because they can't tell an active voice from a passive one.

Now, this is a very serious error because it's an error that's caused by the experts' total ignorance of the voice in grammar. How can such duffers be looked upon as English language experts by the MOE? After stating that the difference between "This is subjected to..." and "This is subject to..." is very subtle, they proceed to talk about "This is subjected to..." in both the passive and active voices and totally ignore "This is subject to..." because evidently, they are labouring under the mistaken notion that the active voice ("If you subject someone to something...") is the same as "This is subject to...", presumably because the word "subject" is used in both sentences (as opposed to "subjected").

An English language teacher who makes such an error ought to be disciplined and seriously considered for dismissal. A language expert who makes this error ought to be sent to the gallows!

You want more? Sure! I have a lot more for you.

There are millions of errors in the MOE's grammar book ENGLISH AS IT IS BROKEN. If you would like a list of the links in my blog that deal with this same subject, please click here. It's a growing list and every fresh post that I write on the subject is added to this list which is divided neatly into different categories.

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