This blog is about the story of my family here in America. We arrived in the 1630s as Puritans, and became the common folk of the New World.

American English, and success in the world

The English language is a mess. I really have no recollection of English classes in school, nor do I remember studying grammar, syntax, that sort of thing. I remember a lot of spelling tests. And that is really the trick to mastering English, especially English as spoken and written in America.

There has never been some great committee overseeing the English language. Dictionaries record how people use English, they don't dictate it. When a particular word is spelled, or pronounced, a particular way, dictionaries change.

Because of the obscure and random nature of the English language, the use of it can help you tremendously in your success goals. I've often referred to it as a *secret handshake*. People who speak English well recognize each other. It's a clear indication that the person is educated, and well-read. Since English is such a mess, and any there aren't really any rules, the only way to use it, and use it well, is with a lot of practice, and memorization.

In my career as a graphic designer, I came in contact a lot with the English language. Since I specialized in desktop publishing, the writing was supplied to me, and I did the layout. And the writing was always done by people who knew the language well, and kept it current. Advertising language is not the English of your school teacher. It respects current usage, and throws away old stuff like *whom* (for example).

So, if you want to be more successful, impress people at business meetings and job interviews, study the English language. And the best place to do that is at the library, not the internet.

By the way, you can skip reading Beowulf.
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