Once upon a time, in a kingdom quite near here, in fact just down the road, there lived a young prince named Ferdinand.

Now Ferdinand was handsome to behold, and filled of athletic prowess, yet was not of royal stature in the scholarly arts, in fact was something of a blockhead, especially in his letters. He would smudge them, or garble the order, even make up letters on the spot so that his sentences were as the ravings of a lunatic and an embarrassment to his mother, the queen, and his father, the groomsman.

“Care, my prince,” his wise teacher…

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Open up an Excel spreadsheet, because after you read about this grammar mistake, you’ll want to start keeping track of all the times you hear one of your colleagues make it.

You may even feel the urge to correct them. It’s only natural, knowledge is power — Welcome to Grammar Land, Clarice, we’ve been expecting you — and you’ll want detailed notes in case it escalates to that.

I noticed it only because of the virus. When your entire day is spent in conferences on phone and video, rather than in person, you start to notice things you never noticed…

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Your articles and blog posts have international reach.

That’s obvious — you’re writing on Medium. Further, more than 1.75 billion people speak English worldwide, up and down the streets of cities and towns in every country on every continent of the globe. All kinds of English. Through their cell phones at least, almost all of those 1.75 billion people have access to your writing.

I can’t exactly tell you how to get these overseas readers to become your readers. …

If I asked you to name a really good teacher you had at some point in your education, you could probably do it in a heartbeat, without even a second’s hesitation.

So we know this much: Good teachers are rare. They really stand out.

But if I asked you to name a really bad teacher you had, you could likely do that just as fast. They stand out, too.

Have you ever thought about why? In that sea of teaching mediocrity that is your educational background, what precisely made your good teachers good, and your bad teachers bad? …

Okay, today’s quiz: Which Tolstoy novel sold the most copies during the author’s lifetime? Was it War and Peace, or Anna Karenina? Or wait, maybe it was that short masterpiece, The Death of Ivan Ilyich?

Sorry, the correct answer is Resurrection, Tolstoy’s last novel, first serially published in 1899–1900.

I know what you’re thinking: Uhhh . . . it’s called what? Resurrection? By Tolstoy? The Russian? Balding, with a beard?

Excellent questions. After all, the man achieved artistic perfection in 1877 with Anna Karenina, a novel considered even at the time the greatest ever written, and then repeated it in…


One might readily postulate that if squirrels understood the mortal danger of running out into traffic, they wouldn’t do it. Yet squirrels do, repeatedly, run out into traffic, where they often meet their deaths. With such propositions one can only logically conclude that squirrels do not, in fact, understand the danger of running out into traffic.

If such is the case, however, then why do squirrels appear to understand the danger of running out into traffic — once, that is, they run out into it? That is the underlying issue of the questions I propose to address here.


Paul D. Morin

Published in USA Today, Christian Science Monitor, and others. Stop by globalenglishcontent.com to learn more or contact.

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