Perhaps less of a tirade than my mind-blowing resentment towards ‘reaching-out’ and the misuse of ‘myself, yourselves’ and – lets be honest, the government expense ploughed into road signs that read “HGV’s”. But throughout my time at school and university, my fellow English friends appeared not to understand the past tense. “I was sat in my room last night watching…” I won’t go into what my male friends were normally watching during these anecdotes and in truth I could barely bring myself to listen after the woeful grammatical mistake. One aspect makes me laugh, the other makes me furious. When I pointed it out to said friends that they must say either: ‘I was sitting’ or ‘I sat’ but not ‘ I was sat’ refused to believe me. Someone had once pointed out (probably my smug English teacher) that ‘I was sat’ could be grammatically correct. Indeed it could. It could be correct if someone had sat them in their rooms. And here is the bit that makes me smile: the defence of my seventeen and eighteen year-old friends of their grammatical errors was unwittingly that mummy had sat them in their rooms! But they failed to accept this and simply cited that it was grammatically correct: yes you morons, but only in a very narrow context. (I should explain that my nine-year old sister understands the difference – probably because I have drilled it into her since the age of three – poor child.)
But the morons went a step further ‘I was led on my bed’. WHAT?!?! The framework remains the same, someone enforcing them (thus still woefully wrong), but more than that: “led”? Not lying, not lay. Led – as in the alkaline metal. In fairness, in a couple of instances, these individuals were somewhat like led – heavy, useless, and irritable after too much contact.
And the final crowing of my youth: Dove. “I dove into the pool”. I must say I never heard anyone say ‘I was dove into the pool’ – so thats something! Nevertheless, the past tense of dive is not spelt like a slim pigeon!
As a little aside, I was recently in Central America on a volunteering project, where there was one Nicaraguan girl who was fluent in English… how exciting! Well, the entertainment resides in there being a British girl who had studied English at University. This Brit was determined to ‘leverage’ her degree, so wrote a number of blogs. Said Nicaraguan girl was given the enviable responsible for translating these blogs. Translating into spanish transpired to be just a fraction of her task: she had to re-write great swathes of the English Graduate’s blog because of the “painful” grammatical flaws! I was treated to a sneak-peak in which she had written ‘we were taken in the bus all together in the group as one up a steep track before arriving into our destination’. Quite aside from the tautology and the fact you cannot arrive into any destination, she is hardly building an aura around this incredible environment and adventure we were embarking upon. I defer to her though; as she told me on many occasions she was a great story writer. She and my blind, illiterate goat. An indictment on our Education system perhaps? Or just an illustration that even foreigners speak better English than we do!
While I have played the role of accuser and social chastiser for some time, at school I did fully exploit people’s idiocy. There are two moments of note: Firstly, I managed to convince a fifteen-year-old friend that wales was the largest county in England. So much so that I heard him confidently rant, a week or so later, that the six nations rugby was a poorly named competition! Perhaps a little more cruelly, I convinced somebody else, shortly before our History GCSE (having studied the second world war for two years) that Hitler was the living Communist leader of the Soviet Union! The moral guilt I should have felt was vindicated by the announcement that he had done all his revision, “while led on his bed”.