Meet Yvonne Mason. She’s a retired South Carolina teacher who taught in public schools for 17 years. She also recently received a letter from the White House that was full of grammatical errors, and boy was she irritated.
“I have never, ever, received a letter with this many silly mistakes,” she told Greenville News of the Trump-signed document she called “stylistically appalling.” A photo shared to Facebook on May 14 shows the marked-up letter before she sent it back to the Oval Office.
We. Are. Dead.
If you’re wondering why the White House was mailing her in the first place, it’s because she wrote the Trump administration after the Parkland shooting to request the president meet individually with family members of the victims. While they didn’t address her request, the White House did respond to her note on May 3 with a letter that “repeatedly capitalized ‘nation,’ ‘federal,’ ‘president’ and ‘state,’ turning these common nouns into proper nouns.” Where’s y’all’s editor!?
Of course, she’s aware the letter was likely written by staff and not the president, but how are you working for the White House and not performing spell checks, fam? Furthermore, how’s the president stamping his signature on unchecked docum… nevermind.
“When you get letters from the highest level of government, you expect them to be at least mechanically correct,” she said. “If it had been written in middle school, I’d give it a C or C-plus. If it had been written in high school, I’d give it a D.”
Greenville News notes that while she “resisted” attaching a grade to the letter (we really wish she went for it), she did drop them a link government website PlainLanguage.gov, which is “dedicated to encouraging federal officials to write with clarity and specificity.”
“Part of the idea of clear, precise writing is abiding by grammatical and mechanical standards so everyone can be on the same page,” Mason added. “Language is the currency of power.”