Stupid Things I’ve Learned: Teach Vs. Learn

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If grammar mistakes were war crimes, then teenagers would be responsible for the My Lai Massacre. No one on Earth needs instruction on proper word usage as much as these middle schoolers, who get thrown off whenever they think about including a word with an apostrophe.

Still, one of the most useless classroom lessons I have ever sat through was an exercise differentiating between the words “teach” and “learn.” The two words may be similar, but in essence they do mean opposite things. The real issue with the lesson, however, I have never heard anyone mix up those words. Sure, a lot of people struggle just to express a coherent thought, but that does not mean that they go around talking like characters in a Huck Finn novel.

“If I hain’t learned yer nothing more, Jim, least you’ll know how ta catch a catfish from a hilltop.”-Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, in a quotation that I probably made up.

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And if we do talk like that, it probably means that we use the n-word too much. Good luck trying to get that in the curriculum.*

*This joke does not apply in the state of Alabama, as it is too real.

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