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johnlawrenceaspden comments on Two More Things to Unlearn from School - Less Wrong

55 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 12 July 2007 05:45PM

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Comment author: johnlawrenceaspden 27 August 2012 04:53:32PM -1 points [-]

Anything written improperly will take longer to read and interpret

Must add up to hours, added up over a lifetime. But it's a great way of telling the uneducated to keep their ill-informed opinions to themselves. Which is often a useful thing to be able to say politely.

Bad spelling and grammar are good bayesy evidence that the speaker doesn't know what they're talking about. But they're not a moral issue.

Just imagine what this class was like from the teacher's point of view, with someone constantly making her feel inferior while she was trying to communicate something. If she was from a poor background and had nevertheless become an English teacher she might well have had something interesting to say.

I think we're both wasting time on this silly argument I've started. I'll give you the last word and not respond.

Comment author: bigjeff5 01 September 2012 06:17:28PM 6 points [-]

I think in my previous post the implication is that I believe the punishment was unwarranted. That is not the case (though I certainly felt that way at the time). I simply felt the reason given for the detention was less important than the experience of realizing that authority figures can be wrong.

It was entirely appropriate for the teacher to give me detention, because I actually was interrupting class when she was trying to teach, and I don't think I was being particularly helpful to the rest of the students. What she was teaching was correct, as far as I can remember, however there isn't much a person can do about 40+ years of poor habits when it comes to speaking English.

She was in a bad position, and did a reasonable job under the circumstances. I was just a bratty little smart aleck making her life difficult.

Comment author: johnlawrenceaspden 03 September 2012 02:31:06PM 2 points [-]

Cheers, bigjeff5. My comment was deliberately inflammatory and I apologize for it. The very idea of "correct English" makes me suspend rational thought.

My own background is complicated, but my mother's father was a Sheffield Irish steelworker and him (sic) and his wife cared very much about all that sort of thing.

I wrote a bit of a rant about it here:


In case anyone likes rants.