Pat's Schoolhouse provides a distinctly unique education for over 28 years...As I explained in my blog post, the sentence should read: 'Pat's Schoolhouse has been providing a distinctly unique education for over 28 years...'
I've just received in my letter box Pat's Schoolhouse's 2017 ad and this time, the flyer looks even more attractive than their 2016 ad:
I am quite pleased to say that this time, they didn't use the simple present. The first sentence of their ad which contains only 3 sentences reads:
For 29 years, Pat's Schoolhouse has been nurturing children...This is precisely what I said they should have done for their ad last year instead of the simple present and I'm glad to see that they got it right this year.
Just when I thought all was well with their 2017 ad, my eyes fell on the second sentence and I could not help but wonder if I might justly conclude that getting its language right, at least in its promotional flyer, isn't one of the many strengths Pat's Schoolhouse no doubt has.
Here's the main part of their ad:
The sentence should read 'To be confident and courageous, and to celebrate every moment...'. Or, if they prefer the imperative mood, 'Be confident and courageous, and celebrate every moment...'. This is elementary and even a child can sense the inelegance of the sentence by Pat's Schoolhouse. Nobody, not even a child, will say, 'I want you to be happy and cheerful, and jump for joy'. Instinctively, he will insert 'to' before 'jump for joy'. Whoever wrote that sentence in Pat's Schoolhouse's advert obviously lacks this basic linguistic instinct.
Last year, I was prepared to attribute their error to a slip-up by their marketing employee. But I can't keep on doing this every year. A school should not show itself repeatedly to be incapable of getting its language right. The beautiful flyer should promote the school and not embarrass it.
For more articles on language, particularly the outrageous errors of Singapore's Speak Good English Movement, please click here.