Today when I read e-mail news from a government agency I became quite aggravated, initially, about a misspelling. I'm not so bad about misspellings and terrible grammar of other origins, even though when I happen upon them I often envision my 9th grade English teacher shaking her head and reminding us that correct spelling and excellent grammar carry much more weight than we might imagine. I agree!
Since elementary school days I have considered both to be the norm. One day not long after school started I came home from first grade and corrected Mother's grammar. Big mistake! She made it very clear to me that she did not appreciate the correction, so it never happened again. However, correct spelling and good grammar continued to remain important to me which of course was reinforced throughout school years as it was, and I hope still is, for everyone.
Are correct spelling and proper grammar no longer considered to be important? I am not referring to texting language and abbreviations, or feature articles that include slang, cliches, idioms, or unique phrases used illustratively, when I ask this. However, I do think we should be able to expect "modern standard English" to be used, not only academically and in textbooks, but also in newspapers and periodicals, as well as in written material sent around by government agencies.
In question, here, is a 27 October e-mail from National Service News which was sent around by govdelivery. The subject: Combatting the Opioid Epidemic. National Service refers to Americorps and Senior Corps. The links in the e-mail connect to an "official" tumbler blog, not the government website.
Strike one: "combatting"!
Additionally, the description of the government agency states: "The Corporation for National and Community Service is the federal agency that engages more than 5 Million Americans in community-driven services."
Strikes two and three: "the corporation" and "5"!
Three strikes and I have became officially aggravated! I now have pertinent questions and comments. Spelling aside, for the moment, apparently the National Service federal agency is now being referred to as a "corporation". What!? The e-mail, blog, and government website all now describe the government agency as a corporation! So, when was it decided, and by whom, to start referring to federal agencies as "corporations"? Bad enough the postal service is some sort of government/corporate hybrid which interferes, from time to time, with it being accountable. But if that has also been the fate of the National Service federal agency, then there is a story which needs telling.
This is no small matter. We need to be asking how many other government agencies are also now being labeled as corporations. There are huge differences between corporations and government agencies - especially when it comes to accountability, employment, and budgetary matters which are rightfully of concern to "we, the people". In actuality, history has proven countless times that not protecting corporations and government from one another is as destructive as not protecting religion and government from one another. This IS no small matter.
And of course the grammar issue remains while raising the question of whether it is due to incompetency or a lack of supervision and quality control. That "combatting" is spelled wrong jumps out at any reader! And that numbers under 10 need to be spelled, renders the "5" a glaring mistake as well.
Spelling and grammar are the fundamental underpinnings of clear communicating. As precarious as government has seemed most of the year, it would be a real treat to be able to expect the stability of correct spelling and good grammar from government agencies! Even moreso* we need an accountable explanation of facts about the rationale of the National and Community Service government agency being referred to as a "corporation". ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
*moreso - A grammatical conundrum? Not necessarily. Context matters. There is no precedent to justify "more so" in this context, therefore "moreso" is used. Admittedly, moreso may be a somewhat archaic term. For fun, I like to use such terms periodically. (^_^)