Lover’s Language Worries Lover

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Lover’s Language Worries Lover

Dear Ann Landers,

I have been dating a young man for several years. Dan is everything a girl could want. Well, almost. He is kind, nice looking, considerate, fun to be with, and he makes good money. The only drawback is his grammer. For example, he says "I seen," "youse," "have went," and "between you and I".

I bite my tongue when he makes these awful mistakes, especially in the presence of my friends. I don't want to be ashamed of him, Ann, and I don't want to embarrass him either, but I'm afraid one day I might.

Is there a chance that we can have a good marriage in spite of this? I am 26 and a college graduate. Dan is 27 and attended a trade school. I do love him, but I fear I'll be a nagging wife – or worse yet, a silent wife who is ashamed of her husband's grammer.

Please hurry your answer. He is waiting for mine.

York, Pennsylvania

Factual questions

1. How long have she and Dan been dating?

2. Why does she like Dan?

3. What is the drawback?

4. What doesn't she want to do?

5. What is she afraid of?

6. What question does she ask Ann Landers?




a drawback

to bite one's tongue

to be ashamed

to embarrass

a trade school

to nag

in spite of

Language use

Note the last line of the letter. Mine is a possessive pronoun. In this case, what does it take the place of?



1. Have you ever been embarrassed by someone's bad grammar? Are there mistakes in your own language similar to the kinds that upset this girl? Are some kinds of mistakes in your language considered to be more serious than other kinds of mistakes?

2. Do you think that speaking or writing your own language incorrectly can be a drawback in work or business, in social situations, or in a marriage? Explain.

3. How, or by whom, is correctness in your language decided? Do you believe that anything a native speaker says is acceptable, even if it doesn't follow the traditional rules?

4. When you make a mistake while speaking English in class, how do you feel about your teacher correcting you? Would you rather be corrected (1) immediately, (2) after you have finished what you wanted to say, or (3) alone in private? Why?

5. When you're talking with an English-speaking friend, how do you feel about being corrected if you make a mistake?

6. The writer of this letter is a college graduate. The man she wants to marry is not. Do you think this difference in education makes a difference in the success of a marriage? If only one person of a married couple can be college educated, does it matter if it's the husband or the wife? Why? What difference does it make?



Now write a reply to York's letter, as if you were Ann Landers.

From the desk ofAnn Landers



1. Do you agree with Ann Landers that Dan is too good to discard? Why or why not? If Dan and York get married, what kind of relationship do you think they will have?

2. What if Dan tells York he doesn't want to be corrected, that he thinks his English is fine? What should she do? What would you do?

3. What things/qualities are most important to a successful marriage, in your opinion? What kind of man or woman is your ideal mate? How would he or she talk, behave, dress, feel, think?



Hurt by Overheard Word

Dear Ann Landers,

I'm a 17-year-old guy who needs to know what to do. Right now I'm hurt, mad, insulted, and mixed up. This is the story.

I just phoned a girl I like a lot. We've dated some – not much, but I thought she liked me. When I asked her if I could come over after supper, she said, "Wait a minute". She thought she had the mouthpiece of the phone covered but I heard her say, "How can I get rid of this creep? He wants to come over and I don't want him to. "Then she came back on and said, "I'm sorry but I have to go someplace with my parents".

I can't avoid this chick because we are in several classes together and we have the same friends. How should I act? Should I let her know that I heard what she said?

Double Ears

Factual questions

1. Why did the boy telephone the girl? What did he ask her?

2. What did the girl say to him?

3. What did he accidentally overhear her say?

4. Why is he "hurt, mad, insulted, and mixed up?"

5. What questions does he ask Ann Landers?

Language use

The girl does not want the boy to visit her, but she doesn't want to be impolite and say this directly. She makes up a "white lie." This is a kind of lie that is considered harmless because it is told for the sake of being polite. What is a white lie called in your language? Is it considered socially acceptable?


to overhear

a guy

mixed up

to date

to come over

to get rid of

a creep

to come back on

to avoid

a chick

Double Ears



1. If you were the boy, how would you feel?

2. If you were the girl, what would you do?

3. Has this kind of situation ever happened to you? What did you do?

4. Why didn't the girl make up an excuse immediately? Why do you suppose she needed to ask for help?

5. What do you think she might have said if the boy had asked if he could visit her the next night, or if he had asked for a date on the weekend?

6. What do you think Ann Landers will tell Double Ears to do?


Write a letter to Double Ears, as if were Ann Landers, and answer his questions.

From the desk ofAnn Landers



1. Do you agree with Ann Landers' advice?

2. Ann Landers advises Double Ears to "act natural." What does she mean? How should he act the next time he sees the girl?




TV or not TV?

Dear Ann Landers,

Ron, is 21 and I am 19. We're newlyweds, and our problem is the TV in the bedroom. Ron likes to lie in bed and watch TV until midnight every night and some nights he watches until 1 AM.

I want to turn off the TV at 11 PM because I have to get up at seven for work, and if I don't get eight hours sleep I am very crabby the next morning. Ron gets up at seven too, but he says he doesn't need as much sleep as I do. Anyway, I can't fall asleep while the TV is on, and Ron refuses to turn it off at 11 PM;

How can this problem be solved? Don't suggest ear plugs because they hurt my ears.


Factual questions

1. What does Ron like to do every night?

2. What does his wife want to do?

3. How many hours of sleep does his wife need?

4. What happens if she doesn't get this much sleep?

5. Does Ron need as much sleep as his wife?

6. Why can't his wife wear ear plugs?


1. What does the writer want Ann Landers to tell her to do?

2. What kind of relationship do you think the writer and her husband have?

3. Is Ron willing to compromise? Is Crabby?

4. How do you think this problem can be solved?





From the desk ofAnn Landers


1. Do you think that Ron will agree to such a compromise? What will happen if there are TV programs which he wants to watch on two consecutive nights?

2. Explain what Ann Landers means when she says, "although a compromise makes a good umbrella, it's a poor roof."

Language in life

Who has a problem? Ron? Crabby? Both of them? Talk with a partner about what you think Ron and Crabby should do to solve their problem.

Assume that Ron and Crabby can't agree on a 50-50 compromise. Crabby decides to sleep in another room. Choose a partner and prepare and present a brief dialogue which dramatizes Crabby's decision and Ron's response.


1. Does a member of your family have a habit that annoys you or makes you crabby? Write about it. What have you tried to do about it?

2. Be honest: Do you think you have a habit that annoys someone in your family? What is it? How does the other family member behave when you do it?



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