English Teachers Are Happy To Share

English Teachers Are Happy To Share

Random Thoughts by Pauline

March 13 2015, Friday        

Let’s right the wrong!
I wonder if you have ever noticed this poster.  “LETS RUN TOGETHER”.

As an English Language teacher, I am furious that such a mistake can be made! It should be “Let’s Run Together” with “let’s” meaning “let us”. “Lets” can only be used with a third person singular noun or pronoun such as “Toms lets (allows) his wife bully him.” Of course, we can also use “lets” in “She lets (out) one of the rooms to make some income.”

Mind you! This poster is everywhere transmitting the wrong use of the word “lets” to our easily impressionable young minds! All that is taught in class can be forgotten! Or worse, students can rebut teachers when they are corrected using the word as it is in the poster. Indeed, this slogan is so eye-catching that it is adopted by many school teams in designing their uniforms. Teachers or students responsible all assume what they see in advertisements cannot be wrong.

There are two Chinese idioms that succinctly capture this situation:  習非成是 and  約定俗成.

The literal meaning of the first one is that when enough “negative” or “wrong” things or opinions or responses are collected, then cumulatively speaking, this “wrong” will be taken as the “right”! The second one means more or less the same: when many people agree to do one thing together, then a custom is formed!

Chinese wisdom works again!