Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

What Keeps Me Awake at Night - It's as Though They Just Don't Care: Opinion

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

What Keeps Me Awake at Night - It's as Though They Just Don't Care: Opinion

Article excerpt

As a teacher, teacher trainer and author of work packs and books for teachers, I am sometimes asked to review new products or literature for use in schools. Some time ago, I was sent nine books for key stage 2 readers. Within half an hour I felt a mixture of anger, frustration and despair.

I began with three fictional stories. In the first, which had won an award, I found the sentence "He looked like he had been dragged through a hedge by his tail." In the second, "He set off running round the room, holding her up like she was flying." In the third, "I made sure that I looked like I was thinking."

Why do authors and editors let themselves down and undermine teachers' work, if not with spelling or other errors ("bored of", "different to" - the Harry Potter books are frequent offenders) then with this maddening, ignorant misuse of the word "like" when they should use "as if" or "as though"?

I'm afraid that, for me, one such flaw cheapens the whole book, like a plastic jewel in an otherwise genuine necklace, and my opinion of the author plummets. Even the much- criticised Enid Blyton used correct grammar.

Pressing on with the next book, I read "I've spent five years ... pissed off and screwed up" and then examined a paperback containing three stories. The first was entitled Pants and the third Poop. Seeing a picture of pirates, I hoped that the author was going to call our bluff and that "poop" might refer to the deck of a ship. But no, it was about children throwing dog poo (graphically illustrated) into a public swimming pool. …

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