The Underground is another name for England’s subway system, also known as the Tube. “I will be going underground” uses the word as a noun as it is a person, place, or thing. In the expression “underground water,” “underground” is an adjective modifying the noun, “water.” In its newest ad, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) wants us to know that for our safety, and to prevent wildfires, the company is “undergrounding” its power lines. Rather than making me feel warm and fuzzy, this use of to underground as a verb makes me want to wretch. Granted I have taught English Composition and mathematics to high school students as recently as 2019.
I feel the same way about “they” being used as a preferred pronoun. In correct English, “they” is a plural form. “He” or “she” is for one person. “They” is for two or more. We have a word in the English language for a boy who thinks he is a girl so does not want to be addressed as he, and for a girl who thinks she is a boy so does not want to be addressed as she.
The word is (No, I’m not going there) “it.” “It wants to talk next” would correctly, though bizarrely, replace “He wants to talk next.” “It want’s to be whiteboard monitor” would replace, equally bizarrely, “She wants to be whiteboard monitor.” Perhaps this is why California eliminated the essay as a requirement for the SAT in 2020. Next, it will be the college admission essay requirement.
Changing the English language to accommodate transgender youth pronouns is just another way to “dumb-down” our educational requirements. Much like claiming that math answers being expected to be right or wrong is racist, so not accepting “They is going next.” to be correct grammar is decried as transphobic. With the elimination of correct and incorrect in math, we now have “Well you gave it a good go” as garnering full credit. What on Earth does this say about who will qualify to be our future astronauts and engineers?
It is all quite ridiculous and incomprehensible, but so is no longer requiring the SAT for college entrance admissions candidate selection, and LSAT for law school admissions candidate selection. If Kamala Harris became a lawyer after admission to Hastings Law School under affirmative action in conjunction with the then requisite LSAT scores nearly two decades ago, Heaven help us without even the slimmest of academically-based selection criteria in the future! Unfortunately, the future is already upon us, and I’ve just told you about the “root causes” of our decline.
By Jennifer Mitchell Towner
Jennifer Mitchell Towner worked in the computer industry from 1979 to 1998. Under a program called Encorps, she became a high school math, French, and Consumer Finance teacher in 2009, retiring in 2019. She holds two BAs from U.C. Berkeley in Math and French and an MBA from Stanford University. The books she published in 2021, Good Boots and Kipper the Nipper are on Amazon.
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