Tag Archives: literacy


27 Aug


She is at it again!.

Jamaica continues to grapple with low literacy rate, one visionary administrator  continues to use Facebook as a medium to help  others improve their use of English skills.  It started long ago and it has become the most sought after staple by the friends, acquaintances, followers, peeping toms (reads: inquisitive persons) on her Facebook page.  The English Language is not easy but with constant practice one can certainly achieve mastery of same.  Alcia Morgan-Bromfield has made it quite simple below:

Basic English 101 (AMB Lecture Series)
“I am often embarrassed to hear these words misused especially by persons who should know better” was the far from lengthy preamble she used to commence her class.  The brevity of it is an indication that there is not much to introduce; let’s get down to business.

The Lesson

  1. Presently – soon to happen. Eg: Presently, I will leave for home.

2). At present – happening now. Eg: At present, I am at the nail technician.

3). Lie – to recline or set one’s self down Eg: I am going to lie for a while.

4). Past tense lay; past participle lain

5). Lay – to set something down Eg: Lay the basket on the table.
Past tense laid; past participle laid.

6).Ordinal numbers tell position eg first, second, third etc so we ought to say The 1st of August NOT August 1st

7). Cardinal numbers tell how many as in 15 cows; 10 dogs etc so we ought to say August 1 NOT August 1st

8). Data: plural of datum. Media plural of medium. Bacteria plural of bacterium. Use these nouns with plurals verbs. Eg: These data are valuable to the research. Social media are sometimes misused. Bacteria are both helpful and harmful.

9). Indiscipline: noun – There was an embarrassing display of indiscipline by the young lady.

10). Undisciplined (adj) She is a rather undisciplined person (note NOT indisciplined)

11). Gear ( paraphernalia associated with sports). THERE IS NO “S” ON THIS WORD no matter how many pieces of gear there are.

It does not get simpler than this.

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19 Aug

That’s the powerful woman standing right there…the lone rose among the thorns

After a heated debate with a colleague about the correct grammatical form of a statement, I took to social media to consult an exceptional education administrator, editor extra-ordinaire, prolific writer, communication and linguistic specialist. I quickly made this post and tagged her in it:

“I need to consult my editor extra-ordinaire, linguistic and communication specialist Alcia Morgan on this one…which is correct:
“If I were you…? or “If I was you…?”
Talk to me please so I can stand corrected and go apologize or say “I knew it”

She did not respond right away . All this time my mind was commenting and chastising itself in a most realistic way. It had conversations like: “Really Alcia, is where you hiding tonight?” Or, “Come man Alcia, I need my confirmation.” The logical mind didn’t miss a beat as it chastised the impatient me “Calm down. The woman have a life” or “She will respond in her own time. Go and find something to do”. I found myself laughing out loud at this internal dialogue. Talk about getting mad. Ah boy. Anyway, back to the story.

Despite my gross impatience, I was not concerned whether she would respond or not, because she just simply cannot resist the urge to share her expertise. It’s an impossible task for her. The wait for me was forever because I was twitching to get her response. However, I was not prepared for the detailed, informative, and profound elucidated response I got. Here it is:

Dorraine Reid, only you could draw me out of hibernation like this. Technically, both are correct from a descriptive linguistic perspective as both express a conditionality; You will never hear a prescriptive grammarian using “if I was’ though. Bear in mind that the prescriptivist (the ones who write the grammar books) SAYS what is correct; the descriptivist express what actually happens. The former “if I were you” expresses a situation that is possible but not real; a hypothetical situation that is contrary to the real situation and thus the use of the subjunctive. “If I was” on the other hand, is indicative and can be replaced with “whenever”. To conclude, the phrase, “if i were you” is the correct use from the “standard” English perspective. In essence, “If I were you, I’d apologize if i have to”.

This response had many facebook-ers quickly clicking away on the like button and sparked a vibrant conversation. It felt good to have been a part of it. As the discussion progressed, it further reinforced the notion that, social media is what we make it. This Educator extra-ordinaire who wears so many hats, uses her facebook page to inspire, motivate, encourage, teach. As we lamented about her brilliance, and I expressed a desire for more persons to read her response to the question, she responded with this:

Seems my page draws a lot of attention….both for those who visit it to see what literary work I’m up to, those who want a motivational moment, to have a laugh or to learn ” the word of the day” and those who just want “grist for their mills”

This is such a factual statement because I am one of them. I live for her facebook posts (and I’m sure I’m not alone) because each one I consume, I walk away with another word added to my vocabulary. It is indeed a literary class on her facebook page.

If I were you, I would get to know her…visit her page or ask Mr Google.


2 Jun

When, she gasp her last breath, lightening flashed miserably; thunder roared angrily; wind blew fiercely; tears of God poured wildly; then the world became dark and still…even nature mourned. ( well so I think).

As an aspirant to be quite prolific with pen and words, my heart broke when news broke that literary icon Maya Angelou has decided to go up yonder. Each time I attempt to write or think about writing, your words ring in my ears “I want to be such a good writer that a person will be 30-40 pages before realizing they are reading”. Deep stuff, wouldn’t you say? Oh yes. Deep but quite profound. As a lover of words, it would be remiss of me to not pay tribute to you using what you do best…THE SPOKEN WORDS.



literary greatness


Dr Maya Angelou, at your sunrise Earth gained the most powerful voice that speaks loudly with a pen;

how long it would speak, we knew not then.

Words fail me to express my heart’s hummings;

My pen paused to think of my mind’s runnings;

Dazedly I think of something profound to say;

One conclusion: this writer’s block has my love for you betrayed.


The time clock stopped when few days ago

A most brilliant mind pen ink ceases to flow;

The silence of your pen tapping is agonizing

Your mind I can no longer see.

Soul-full food for thought that once satiated my appetite I will forever crave;

as your cuisine with words at my literary feast will no longer be.


It takes only a phenomenal woman to rise even when you have been beaten with bitter twisted lies;

Only you know why the cage birds sing and how their melodic songs sits on ear lobes and pecks at the hearts of many.


Dr Maya Angelou, now that your sunset has come, I declare Earth has lost a powerful voice that speaks loudly with a pen;dare I say this void will end, we know not when.  R.I.P


Take a moment and join me here by leaving your tributes to this great literary icon.


12 Jul

Respect to all teachers.

I sat at the computer, fingers accurately  massaging the keys on the keyboard as I carefully navigated the world wide web.  “I have to find back this article” I whispered aloud as I frustratedly shook my feet. My eyes searched agitatedly. I hissed my teeth. I could feel the frustrating spreading slowly to the rest of my body…. then the content of the screen changed.  “what the hell just happened?”  I asked as if talking to someone.   I notice I was looking at a title that said “Quote about teachers”. I paused…. my finger must have clicked something accidentally that took me to this page. Cant say I’ sorry because…

I AM SUCKER FOR QUOTES. GOOD QUOTES.  I cant believe I just said that but there is no point denying what I am.  I must learn a new one everyday. All that said, let me get back to the matter at hand.   As I read,  I thought some of these quotes were excellent and thought they were worth sharing with you my readers.

Here goes:

“Those who educate children well are more to be honored than they who produce them; for these only gave them life, those the art of living well.”

“There are two kinds of teachers: the kind that fill you with so much quail shot that you can’t move, and the kind that just gives you a little prod behind and you jump to the skies.”
Robert Frost

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”
William Arthur Ward

“The world of literature has everything in it, and it refuses to leave
anything out. I have read like a man on fire my whole life because the
genius of English teachers touched me with the dazzling beauty of language.
Because of them I rode with Don Quixote and danced with Anna Karenina at a
ball in St. Petersburg and lassoed a steer in “Lonesome Dove” and had
nightmares about slavery in “Beloved” and walked the streets of Dublin in
“Ulysses” and made up a hundred stories in the Arabian nights and saw my
mother killed by a baseball in “A Prayer for Owen Meany.” I’ve been in ten
thousand cities and have introduced myself to a hundred thousand strangers
in my exuberant reading career, all because I listened to my fabulous
English teachers and soaked up every single thing those magnificent men and
women had to give. I cherish and praise them and thank them for finding me
when I was a boy and presenting me with the precious gift of the English
language. ”
Pat Conroy

“The real heroes are the librarians and teachers who at no small risk to themselves refuse to lie down and play dead for censors.”
Bruce Coville

“The older I got, the smarter my teachers became.”
Ally Carter, Out of Sight, Out of Time

This is  a perfect opportunity for you my readers to tap into your creative section of your cranium create your own quotations about teachers.   Share. Let us see what we can come up with. Or if you have a quote about teachers that has been written by someone else and you would like to share, you are also welcomed to do some.

* quotes taken from  http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/teachers