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Please watch this short video before reading the commentary below the fold:
For a moment, let's think about all this in different terms. Because I'm most comfortable discussing this matter in educational terms, allow me to do so for just a moment.
First, note these two examples of dangling participial phrases:
Hiking the trail, the birds chirped loudly.Grammatically correct revisions of the two above examples:
Wishing I could sing, the high notes seemed to taunt me.
Wishing I could sing, I feel taunted by the high notes.You can learn more about dangling participles at Grammar Girl.
Hiking the trail, Squiggly and Aardvark heard birds chirping loudly.
Now let's look at an example from the classroom:
A student turns in a composition to me. I find all sorts of errors in logic, dangling participles, and the like. I point out to the student what he has actually said in the essay.
He replies: "That's not what I meant."
I respond: "But that's what you said."
Then we laugh because the errors actually conveyed absurd images: in the first example, the birds were hiking the trail; in the second example, the notes were singing the high notes.
From that point on, the student is more careful to write exactly what he means. And he proofreads, too.
Words matter — or used to matter. United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was spot on when he stated in his dissent to the SCOTUS ObamaCare decision of June 25, 2015: "Words [now] have no meaning..."
According to the Roberts Doctrine, which overthrows the United States Constitution, my students no longer have to revise. They can be a sloppy as they like with their words. HOORAY! [sarcasm]
Furthermore, the words in all contracts to which you have penned your name mean nothing. Sound farfetched to you? Think again! A few short years ago could you have imagined that America would be in the sorry state which she is in today? And so rapidly?
Congress, packed with lawyers who should know how to write legislation correctly, drafted sloppy legislation and, worse, did not read the final gargantuan piece of ObamaCare legislation. Of course, President Obama, a Harvard Law School graduate, also didn't read the law. In my view, all of them committed political malpractice.
Political malpractice is tyranny!