Teacher on Trump's Letter: 'OMG This Is Wrong!'

Yvonne Mason has a few writing tips for the president
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2018 10:00 AM CDT
Teacher on Trump's Letter: 'OMG This Is Wrong!'
President Donald Trump holds up an executive order he just signed in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 9, 2018, during an event celebrating military mothers and spouses.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Ever recoiled at the corrections scribbled on your high school essay? Now you can imagine how the White House felt earlier this month when its form letter was returned by retired teacher Yvonne Mason, the Greenville News reports. "I have never, ever, received a letter with this many silly mistakes," says Mason, who taught middle and high school in South Carolina for 17 years. "When you get letters from the highest level of government, you expect them to be at least mechanically correct." Mason began the exchange with a letter asking President Trump to meet family members of victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. In response, she received a form letter that discusses school safety. "It didn't address the letter I wrote," she says.

But that wasn't all: Grammatical mistakes. Improper capitalizations. Lack of specificity. In her purple ink, Mason marked improper capitalizations of "president," "state," "federal," and "nation." As she explained, "'Federal' is capitalized only when used as part of a proper noun, e.g. the name of an agency." Huffington Post points out two of her more colorful notes: "Have y'all tried grammar and style check?" and "OMG this is WRONG!" Mason says she would have graded the letter a "D" in her high school class. "Part of the idea of clear, precise writing is abiding by grammatical and mechanical standards so everyone can be on the same page," she says. "Otherwise, you're going to be misunderstood." (Some mistakes in Trump's tweets are actually deliberate.)

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