His Father Was Chief… September 19, 2008

His Father Was Chief…

My sister teaches 8th graders in Arizona. This is funny because my sister looks like a 5th grader herself.

Anyway, she told me this story. It must be shared.

She was teaching grammar this week by putting incorrectly punctuated news stories on the overhead. One was about the passing of Pink Floyd member Richard Wright.

The correct sentence read something like this:

Richard William Wright was born in 1943 in Pinner, Middlesex, northwest of London. His father was chief biochemist…

Before my sister read it out loud, one student saw the word biochemist, quickly raised his hand and said, “Oh my god, Ms. Mehta, it says his father was a chief beeyotch!”


I’m easily amused.

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  • chris

    that story is similar to this, from overheard in new york dot com:

    Dumb teen: Hey, look at this! It says “Train for jobs in biotch.”
    Smarter teen: Fool! That word is biotech. Why you gotta be ignorant all your life?

  • laterose

    Lol… this reminds me of my student who’s always telling me a command is different then what I said. Unfortunately I can’t remember a specific example.

  • Juan

    I thought the joke was about “Middlesex” -_-

  • David D.G.

    Ha! Cute story, Hemant. I wonder how long it took her to restore some semblance of order to the classroom.

    ~David D.G.

  • Katie

    I was surprised when the word that came into question wasn’t Middlesex as well, since that word seems to enjoy quite the giggling in most preschool (which I define as anything below college) classrooms.

    Why Wessex, Essex, and Sussex don’t receive the same treatment is partially beyond me, but I have a feeling it has to do with the way the final syllable is pronounced in each word.

    This reminds me of one day in an English class where a student asked if “its” as the possessive of “it” was an “exception to the rule,” to which the teacher responded by writing “him’s car,” “she’s car,” “you’s car,” and “we’s car,” on the board and pointing out that apostrophe+s is never used with pronouns, only nouns.

    Though I wouldn’t be too surprised to see some of the others in writing these days, like, “Dude, where’s I’s car?”

  • Freak

    “wes”, “es”, and “sus” aren’t common words on their own, but “middle” is.

  • SarahH

    Ha! I remember doing those grammar exercises. I absolutely love proofreading, and I was always sad when I ran out of mistakes to find.

  • Richard Wright died?


  • cautious

    I agree with Paul’s comment. I am really not up with my floydophilia, I guess.

  • Christophe Thill

    If the kid was joking, it’s funny. If not, it’s tragic.

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