Story & Photo – Joseph Boyle
While I am not a language arts expert and realize my use of English is not perfect, I am not responsible for teaching our young people English. Clover Park Schools, on the other hand, is responsible for teaching students how to speak and write proper English.
Mastery of our spoken and written language can give a huge boost to our youth in their quest to succeed in life.
It saddens me to see Clover Park Schools using and promoting improper English.
Please note the Clover Park Schools reader board in the attached photo.
The sign reads, “DRIVE SAFE”.
According to my understanding of language arts rules, the word safe is an adjective that is used to describe a noun. For example: Jon drives a safe car. The word safe describes Jon’s car.
The word safe can also be used as a noun. For example: I put the cash in the safe. The word safe is used to name an object.
The adverb safely is the appropriate word choice for the Clover Park Schools sign.
The sign should read, “DRIVE SAFELY”.
Some readers might say, “Hey, this is how we talk; so it is colloquially OK.” I understand that, but if I were interviewing an applicant for a position or promotion and the applicant was not able to speak or write correctly, please understand the applicant may be eliminated from the competition. Language arts skills can affect how far and how fast we are able to move up the ladder of success in life. We do not get a second chance to make a first impression.
I could have voiced my concern in a less public way by sending an e-mail directly to Clover Park Schools. I chose not to do so because the last time I sent an e-mail to Clover Park Schools’ Superintendent, Deborah L. LeBeau, she failed to respond.
My public request to Clover Park Schools is this: Please lead by example. When Clover Park Schools fails to use proper language arts, they fail in their mission to teach our students to use proper language arts. School failure, more likely than not, promotes student failure.
With over 20 years experience talking to people down on their luck, I have observed that a failed student can become a failed adult. I have heard failed adults declare, “I ain’t got no job”.
Please forgive me for being frank in confronting this issue. I do realize I should give up any hope of ever being appointed to a position on the Clover Park School Board.
Ray Richardson says
I thought I was the only one who was annoyed by this.
Joan C says
I noticed that sign also and wondered who would have put that up. Surely someone in the English Dept. or other employee would have seen it and corrected it. It’s not for lack of space since the wording would still be evenly centered using the correct wording.
Mary Hammond says
Joe, Ray, and Joan – you are not alone in noticing and being annoyed/shocked/concerned about these sorts of errors, especially when made publicly by institutions of (higher) education. Unfortunately, those of us who routinely point out such errors are often dismissed and accused of being too picky. (After all, it’s the message that counts, and we all know what was intended, right?)
There seems to be a widespread lack of respect for the rules and conventions of grammar, spelling, and usage – no doubt influenced by the internet, IM-ing, Facebook, and other social media. And when Googling for a word’s definition (), one feels compelled to check the online Urban Dictionary for alternate meanings in addition to Merriam-Webster results. Times are changing, for sure!
Also, remember that Clover Park is a Technical College; language arts is not one of its (notice: no apostrophe!) emphases. The reader board message was probably posted by a student government or activities volunteer. Maybe (s)he ran out of the letters “L” and “Y?” Or maybe (s)he ran out of time and had to get to class or catch a bus?
I Don’t know what all fus about, look alkay to mee;) #whatever