At least a couple middle-school English teachers — people who used to have a positive impact on the universe — need a reality check.
Witness this article from the Wall Street Journal, where middle-school teachers have banished the use of “said” in student work:
English teachers were once satisfied if they could prevent their pupils from splitting infinitives. Now some also want to stop them from using words like “good,” “bad,” “fun” and “said.”
“We call them dead words,” said (or declared) Leilen Shelton, a middle school teacher in Costa Mesa, Calif. She and many others strive to purge pupils’ compositions of words deemed vague or dull.
“There are so many more sophisticated, rich words to use,” said (or affirmed) Ms. Shelton, whose manual “Banish Boring Words” has sold nearly 80,000 copies since 2009.
Her pupils know better than to use a boring word like “said.” As Ms. Shelton put it, ” ‘Said’ doesn’t have any emotion. You might use barked. Maybe howled. Demanded. Cackled. I have a list.”
Great. She has a list (“he spat”).
So now the goal of middle school English is to train people to excel at the Bulwer-Lytton Bad Fiction Contest (“he derided”)?
I read a lot of books to my little girls. The “writers” who use anything but “said” have been banned from our house (“he lectured”).
Those writers are, in fact, going to hell (“he hoped”).
So to refresh:
Getting students to write more creatively = Good.
Banishing “said” in favor of tedious “descriptive” words = End Of Times
Keep writing (“he implored”), Tom Chandler