Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Breaking news: The Speak Good English Movement is finally disbanded.

No, I'm afraid we haven't got such luck. The Movement which I have dubbed the Illiterate Movement is still tenaciously clinging on to its position.

As I have said elsewhere on this blog, Singapore's Speak Good English Movement is incapable of writing a single correct sentence in English. That's an exaggeration of course. What I meant is they are not capable of writing two sentences in English without some serious error. But one thing is clear: all the English tips they have given so far are wrong. Every week I screen-save the English tips they post on their Facebook page for my future blog postings and I can do this without even having to read what I'm saving because I'm so certain that whatever it is they publish is sure to be erroneous.

And I'm right. The real breaking news is what they published on their Facebook page just two hours ago:

To the Movement, 'I'm just going to quickly scan through the newspaper' is wrong. They say the word 'scan' means 'to actively search for something in particular'. Hence, they say you can't just quickly scan through a document.

How can anybody be so wrong? I have shown elsewhere on this blog clear evidence that a consultant of the Speak Good English Movement does not know how to use an English dictionary. This may very well be the reason for their error.

If you look at any dictionary (I'll just pick a handy copy of Oxford, the ODO), here's the definition of 'scan':
Look at all parts of (something) carefully in order to detect some feature
Notice the word 'carefully'. The Movement probably took particular note of this.

Oxford also gives examples. I'll pick two of the examples on how to use the word 'scan':
She carefully scanned the area, searching for anything resembling a ventilation shaft.
His stare was more focused and he scanned the room carefully.

Notice that even in these two examples, the dictionary included the word 'carefully'. I suspect this must have misled the Movement into thinking that you can only scan something if you search for something carefully. If this is right, then the Movement is correct in saying that you can't quickly scan through the newspaper.

As I have already said elsewhere on this blog, people who don't speak English (such as the Movement) must always remember that English words usually have more than one meaning.

The word 'scan' is no exception, The dictionary goes on to give its second meaning:
Look quickly but not very thoroughly through (a document or other text) in order to identify relevant information
The dictionary also gives examples, three of which are:
I scanned through the reference materials
...he quickly scanned through a few pages of the history tomes...
...quickly scanning the page doesn't immediately produce what you're looking for

The Movement is in error when it says that 'I'm just going to quickly scan through the newspaper' is wrong. It's perfectly all right to quickly scan through the newspaper or book or any document. I've just seen another example in my dictionary of a sentence in which 'scan' is used and it's strikingly similar to the sentence that the Movement has declared to be wrong:
He was up a lot earlier that morning, quickly scanning the newspaper as he drank some coffee in the kitchen
If you are interested in seeing more of the Movement's shocking errors, click on this link for a list of articles on this subject. The Movement goes so far as to say in its grammar book (yes, it has a grammar book which drips with error from every page) that 'Alan and George works as a team' is grammatically acceptable. I know you'll find this incredible. Why don't you just click on the link and read for yourself. Section 1A is a list of all articles about the Movement's blunders and Section 1B is a list of errors made by Ludwig Tan, a consultant of the Movement and the Sub-Dean of the School of Arts and Social Sciences in SIM University (UniSIM).

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