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Pat McMahon

Media mouths do not bode well for Arizona education

For as long as I can remember, the citizens of Arizona have talked about the quality of education in our state and the discussions are rarely very positive.

I personally don’t think that things are going to get much better in the future if our kids watch and listen to much local media.

Now, please believe me. I’m not one of those retired English teacher-types who spends the day waiting to pounce on a mistaken use of the past pluperfect. Broadcasters are constantly walking a linguistic plank because we’re all participating in at-the-moment spontaneous conversation and that’s where all the pitfalls are.

However, when material is recorded in advance or is proofread by several people we shouldn’t hear such elementary mistakes as “They gave the information to the police and I’ or “It was sweeped away” instead of “swept,” both heard this week on the air.

If you try to count the verbal crutches “you know” and “like” in a typical sentence, it will take almost as much time as keeping track of the misspelled words in a TV newscast.

But how can we expect a command of the language on the air when, in daily life, we are all addressed as “You guys?”

I’m Pat McMahon.

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