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Last week I counseled "Junior", a second year Engineering Student who attends University. For the majority of his answers to my questions he would start his answer with "Like ,You know."

Here I was waiting for an answer to my question and I am supposed to already have known the answer.

I have worked with young people for many years and have got used to their answer to why they have dropped a course. " Like, you know, wow, the math course was way too hard for me to start doing good at the end of the semester."

I canít claim to be a grammatical giant in my writings. English teachers who have read my column can attest to the fact that my punctuation is in need of a lot of help. But, I have never ended or started a sentence with like or you know. I have assumed that I am trying to add a little knowledge to your life
in my letters to the editor.

I cringe just a little when I ask a university student how they are doing in English and they tell me: that: "they do good." I even do the conjugation for them of the adjective: to do good, gooder and goodest. When I try and correct the grammar telling them that the verb did is in need of the adverb, well, they shrug their shoulders and roll their eyes and tell me that is what they have already told me.

I guess my trying to teach them that good is an adjective ie good boy and not the adverb well is lost on those who spend their time watching Fox T.V.

To get some help I called Mary Mason who was Head of English, at the Thames Valley Board of Education to glean a little knowledge of the why people who were born and educated in Canada do not try and speak/write proper English.

She kindly explained to me that when people use the "you know" phrase that they are merely trying to connect their thoughts A delaying mechanism while they are trying to think of what to say next with a limited vocabulary.

It is similar to the "ahh in you understand ahh that I canít go out to night." Listen to a class of grade nines/tens and you will hear lots of you know & like pervading their lack of language skills. Rarely does she hear the phrase spoken by her grade twelve university level students. In proper writing the pause is reflected in the use of a comma.

Getting back to the do good/gooder instead of do well dilemma Mary teaches her students that you do good deeds for your family/community. How are you feeling questions refer to oneís health reflecting
that you are well-

thank you.

She emphasis that proper spoken/written English comes about when one takes the time to read some good books/ The Singpost where Wendy Spence, the editor, takes the time to express her thoughts in
an articulate fashion.

Sad fact of life that many of our young people have forgotten how to read or write or spell. They donít even know how to write a whole sentence but they sure know how to text a message to their friends
with a furious flurry of fingers a flying across the key pad with the likes of:. "Hey D wut r u doin te? Hey Dallas what are you doing to-night? suddenly got abbreviated.

No wonder that the universities are having a hard time with their students completing the English
Literacy Mandatory Requirements.

Len Lesser is a career/education counselor in Dorchester, Onthttp://www.career-education.ca

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com