What can be considered as an ‘English composition 101 class’ for the office of President of America, a retired teacher proofread a letter addressed to her and mailed it back after making corrections.
The letter, dated May 3 and printed on White House stationery, bearing President Donald Trump’s seal and signature, was addressed to the 61-year-old Yvonne Mason, as a response to her letter to Donald Trump on gun policy.
After she made the corrections, she snapped a picture, posted the letter on Facebook and mailed it back to the White House.
Mason, who retired as an English teacher in 2017, said “Poor writing is not something I abide. If someone is capable of doing better, then they should do better.”
“It was a poorly worded missive,” she told The New York Times.
Mason, who lives in Atlanta, had written to Trump to ask that he visit each family of those who died in the shooting that killed 17 people at a school in Parkland, Florida, in February.
“I had written to them in anger, to tell you the truth,” she said. “I thought he owed it to these grieving families.”
According to the former teacher, the letter she received did not address her concerns.
Instead, it listed a series of actions taken after the shooting, like listening sessions, meetings with lawmakers and the STOP School Violence Act, a Bill that would authorise $500 million over 10 years for safety improvements at schools, but had no provisions related to guns.
Some of the things Mason wrote in the letter were: “Have y’all tried grammar & style check?”
“Federal is capitalised only when used as part of a proper noun.”
There was more, but she did not correct everything.
“I did not mention the dangling modifier… I focused mainly on mechanics,” Mason told The New York Times.
“Nation” was capitalised, so was “states”. She circled both the words.
Yvonne Mason, who taught English rhetoric and composition, used to regularly write to her elected officials.
The letter stood in contrast to other letters she has received from politicians, Mason said.
Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, sent “beautiful” letters that struck a tone that “makes me more important than him”, she said.
In India, Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor who is the unopposed torchbearer of language astuteness in politics and life and has frequently astonished people with his other-worldly knowledge and mastery of English language took to Twitter to tip is hat to the retired teacher.
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) June 3, 2018
(With agency inputs)