Grandma's Tales

November 30, 2006

Grammar 16 – Misplaced Modifiers 2

Filed under: Language — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 10:06 pm

Anonymous stopped by to leave the following sentences as his footprints. Thanks Anonymous, these are great examples and have a desi ring.

1>”Since I have to go to my village to sell my land along with my wife, please sanction me one-week leave.”
2>”Since I’ve to go to the cremation ground at 10 o-clock and I may not return, please grant me half day casual leave”
3>”As I am studying in this school I am suffering from headache. I request you to leave me today”
Comment by Anonymous — November 30, 2006

These sentences remind me of the time I was teaching regular school.  As a class teacher (English teachers are doomed to be class teachers no matter which part of the country they teach in), managing late comers was one of the things I had to do every morning.

The punishment I doled out was a simple one. I would give them a piece of paper and ask them to write a note of apology stating why they were late. Once this was done, they could join the class. This worked extremely well. For me. If the reasons were “innovative”, the language in which they were wrapped pointed the direction my English lessons should take.

“I lost my bus” wrote a 11-year-old. “Because of the late bus driver” wrote another. “Home-work didn’t finish”, “Missing bus”, “too many traffic”, were others.

A boy in Class 11, from a royal family he said,  had the best set of excuses. He had to, because he was late every single day. If the school bell rang at 8 am for others, for him it  always chimed 15 minutes later. After a week or so, I began to look forward to his notes. He wrote flawless English.

“The cook overslept,” he wrote once.
“Is your mother in town?” I asked him. “Yes,” he said.
“Wasn’t she up to see that you left for school in time?”
“She also overslept. So I had to wait for breakfast.”
“You couldn’t fix something for yourself?”
“Me? Even my mother doesn’t enter the kitchen.”

The last I heard of him, he was into playing polo and was part owner of a men’s clothing store. I’m sure he hired someone to open the store every morning.


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