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effective its work will be. Much conscientious teaching must have been vitiated by a nervous striving for the unattainable; a false standard must often have damaged the matter-of-fact pupil, must have failed to discipline the one with a literary gift.

In one sense it may be said that the pamphlet contains too much, for it is a summary of what is laid down in every ordinary manual. Altho it is hard to see why the authors should have made such a full compendium, it is clear that they had a purpose. The form employed thruout is “This kind of thing must not appear.” Every “don't" is copiously illustrated by examples taken from entrance themes; that is the valuable part for an inexperienced teacher.

In another very striking way the pamphlet differs from a syllabus: faults are graded according to seriousness. Five are regarded as extremely serious; thirty-six as more serious than the remaining forty-six. Have you ever seen in print any such assorting and ranking? Does it strike you as absurdly arithmetical? Assuredly that is the way it will strike many readers. But it is only what teachers are always compelled to do for themselves as soon as they have gained the necessary experience. It is bad to write parliment, but it is worse to write discribe; coheerence is bad, but it is not, like dissapear, a type-form constantly employed. It may be poor taste to use fake or pants, but it is the grossest ignorance of fundamentals to write Thinking he had gone home long ago as if it were an independent sentence. Errors do vary vastly in heinousness. A pupil who simply knows that triteness and sentence-errors and improprieties are all alike wrong is more poorly educated than one who is particularly afraid of errors that show fundamental weakness. Our textbooks have almost nothing to say about such distinctions. One that I have used for eleven years devotes a page and a half to sentenceerrors and three to triteness.

In thinking that distinctions ought to be made, then, teachers are in accord. The war of opinion rages when it

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comes to the issue: Which errors are more important? Wisconsin's most serious five, printed in black type, are:

1. Sentences uniformly and babyishly short.
2. Omitting words as in telegrams and diaries.

3. Making a random series of statements instead of following a definite plan.

4. Not marking, or marking with a comma, the close of an independent predication.

5. Setting off a phrase or a clause by a period.

Except for number two (which my limited experience has seldom encountered) I can not dissent from this verdict of evil eminence. It is hard to see how any one could dissent, because it would be so difficult to name any worse faults.

As we ascend from this Malecinque to the next terrace of our three-circle Inferno, what do we find? The thirtysix rules may be grouped :

1. Diction and inflection.
2. Syntax and idioms.
3. Sentence unity and modifiers.
4. Unity of the whole composition.
5. Indenting.
6. Not abbreviating nouns.
7. Paragraphing.

Let us first observe this second set in itself, before we compare it with the third set. In general its wisdom is indubitable, tho some of the items under "nouns not to be abbreviated” seem a bit finicky. But in its proscription of words and idioms it exhibits that failure which seems inseparable from any list of improprieties—ancient and unenlightened dislike. Those are harsh words, presumptuously spoken. In a mere review of any given book they ought to be left unsaid. But we are not examining a certain book. We are trying to find out what English is. And beyond all question this hatred of locutions that we have been taught to hate, or have ignorantly reasoned ourselves into hating, ought not to be made a part of that “certain amount of proficiency” requisite for high school graduation.

People who, use the expression “bad English" always mean some matter of diction or idiom. Thus every printer of a café menu knows that welsh rabbit is a vulgarism. I know a very refined old lady who always substitutes jerkin for the vulgarism sweater, but who is quite unconscious of anything wrong with I don't know as I should. All of us picayune teachers know how very, very naughty it is to use different than; yet one of the most celebrated professors of Engl.sh in the country has written in a book of criticism differently than, and the dictionaries tell us there is plenty of literary precedent.

There is no need of extending illustrations. Lounsbury's Schoolmastering the speech has made all such efforts needless. It is therefore perplexing to find the judicious authors of the Madison pamphlet so schoolmasterish. If men like these tell deprest teachers that burglarize is an error of the second degree, as bad as burgle, what can we hope for? How long is it to be proclaimed from high places that firstly is as ridiculous as thusly, or as vulgar as nowheres, or as utterly a proof of ignorance as undoubtably? The man who wrote for the Britannica the article Monroe Doctrine is too illiterate to enter Wisconsin; he uses firstly. The very makers of our dictionaries would be conditioned at Madison for sanctioning such forms as retrogress, behav: (meaning to conduct in a seemly manner). Is it fair to indicate to teachers that using aggravate for vex is as serious as using borrow for lend? It would be news to many professors and editors that a near-by hou e is as incorrect as them houses, or that downed him and suspicioned him are equally taboo. Is the Yale catalogue in error when it speaks of the library's file? Is an incoming freshman to be called a barbarian because he uses fix for plight, or thinks that lessen means diminish in number? Is it good taste to imply that in back of is as boorish as he might of known? How long would it take Professor Lounsbury to find literary warrant for doubt but what, or rarely ever, or goes out evenings, or the year following I went abroad? Is the International wrong in entering can not help but as an idiom in good standing? It appears by rule 4id that “where McGregor sits is the head of the table” lacks logical congruity.

I dare not call these details “old purist junk," but must confess that they appear mighty exceptionable. Yet they form a small percentage of the whole. In the main the errors specified are inexcusably gross and—what is more to the point—very common.

The list ought to prove a real help to hundreds of teachers in deciding what English is.

Now for the third list, the least serious errors. It includes all the spelling and (except for the difference between commas and periods) all the punctuation. What do you say to that? The pamphlet indicates that trys and alright and askes are slighter blemishes in composition than I will or those kind; that “This sort of thing one man remarked is what causes strikes" is less serious than using Penn. in connected discourse.

I should have to overhaul my feelings completely before I could agree. Let me hasten to add that I am quite ready to begin overhauling as soon as I am convinced that a majority of English teachers sympathize with this ranking. It is a matter of taste. There is no appeal to dictionaries or grammars. We all have opinions, and violent ones; but how can we weigh these things one against another? It is logical to say that if a pupil doesn't know the difference between two complete sentences and one fraction of a sentence, he lacks the first rudiments: a sentence error is worse than dissapear. But how compare dissapear with sawed into two? How was it decided in Madison that using a capital after a semicolon is less offensive than the slang use of proposition?

One thing is certain: we all have that Hostility to Certain Words. One refined person hates loan as a verb; another can not abide had rather. Nearly all of us have a love of logic, which we apply to idioms thus: “Stop means to cease acting; hence the greatest English philologist is mentally deficient when he cites “stopt the night.” And neither this kind of illation nor any sort of hostility ought to have influence in framing guides for teachers.

If some of us conceive that dissapear is worse than sawed into two, can we justify our opinion? Is it based on something firmer than prejudice? I think so. One is a type; the other isn't.

A pupil who writes sawed into two is ignorant, is a poor observer; but in a rather similar case he could properly say, divided into two. The blunder does not prove that he has not had systematic training. Now, a boy who can not put dis and appear together is presumably unable to spell disagree and disappoint. Moreover the ques

. tion of commonness must be considered. Cut in two would not appear one-twentieth as often in a thousand themes as the disappear type. Most of us would find it hard to distinguish accurately between barbaric and barbarous, convince and persuade; and even if we thought them as typical as incredulous and incredible, we should know that they were the one-twentieth-as-often kind. Incredulous may come once a year; punctuating a quotation is a necessity in almost every theme.

“In what degree are errors frequent or typical or fundamental?" I can not see by what other standard we ought to grade their seriousness. Putting them into that crucible of “How offensive are they to a delicate taste?” is poor assaying. I trust I can apply that metaphor usefully without straining too hard. No one who is examining a mining property demands that an entire acre shall yield ore uniformly; he only inquires whether there is a deposit that will make the whole purchase profitable. It is somewhat so with an English property. It is poor policy to require a young mind to be equally informed over the whole wide territory of knowledge and taste; but it is necessary to be assured that in a restricted area of what is reasonably teachable he has some precious knowledge.

To explain literally. Hardly any critic of secondary

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