Wednesday, November 6, 2019
The President Makes Grammatical Errors Too! Tenet vs. Tenant and Obamas Tucson Speech
The President Makes Grammatical Errors Too! Tenet vs. Tenant and Obamas Tucson Speech I got an email from my friend Seth Nowak on January 13, 2011 reporting, Ã¢â¬Å"Obama said Ã¢â¬ËtenentÃ¢â¬â¢ in his speech last night.Ã One term president.Ã¢â¬ The speech to which Seth was referring is the moving, poignant speech Obama delivered following the shooting rampage in Tucson.Ã Obviously Seth was joking to me, The Essay Expert, that a small error like mixing up Ã¢â¬Å"tenetÃ¢â¬ with Ã¢â¬Å"tenantÃ¢â¬ would affect (not effect) ObamaÃ¢â¬â¢s approval rating. Just a few days before, I had corrected Seth when he said Ã¢â¬Å"tenentÃ¢â¬ (or Ã¢â¬Å"tenantÃ¢â¬ he was speaking not writing, so I canÃ¢â¬â¢t be sure) when he meant Ã¢â¬Å"tenet.Ã¢â¬ Ã Thus he could not help but notice ObamaÃ¢â¬â¢s slip of tongue. To clarify, Ã¢â¬Å"tenetÃ¢â¬ means Ã¢â¬Å"any opinion, principle, doctrine, dogma, etc., esp. one held as true by members of a profession, group, or movement.Ã¢â¬ A tenant, on the other hand, is a person, a group of persons, or an entity occupying a space, usually a rental space (my definition). Ã¢â¬Å"TenentÃ¢â¬ is not a word in modern English, though in the interests of full disclosure, it is listed on dictionary.com as Ã¢â¬Å"Obs.Ã¢â¬ (Obsolete).Ã It does not appear anywhere in the dictionary on my shelf, WebsterÃ¢â¬â¢s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary (copyright 1987, the year I headed to college Ã¢â¬â and if thatÃ¢â¬â¢s not obsolete, I donÃ¢â¬â¢t know what is). ObamaÃ¢â¬â¢s spoken sentence was as follows: Ã¢â¬Å"They were fulfilling a central tenant[sic] of the democracy envisioned by our founders.Ã¢â¬ The transcriber was kind to our President. Ã The text Ã¢â¬Å"tenant[sic]Ã¢â¬ does not appear in the transcription; instead, the official version in The New York Times reads, Ã¢â¬Å"They were fulfilling a central tenet.Ã¢â¬ The day before ObamaÃ¢â¬â¢s speech, I had put Ã¢â¬Å"tenant/tenetÃ¢â¬ on my list of Top 10 Grammatical Errors of 2011 (scheduled for publication in December 2011).Ã Why?Ã Because inside of one week in January, not including ObamaÃ¢â¬â¢s speech, I heard Ã¢â¬Å"tenantÃ¢â¬ used incorrectly twice: once by Seth as reported above, and once in a draft of a law school application essay.Ã I wonÃ¢â¬â¢t quote that essay here for reasons of confidentiality, but hereÃ¢â¬â¢s an example of a sentence in a draft law school application essay I received a year ago: Ã¢â¬Å"The general tenants of my thesis was that developing a national childcare system would contribute to the economy and better the lives of all Canadians.Ã¢â¬ This sentence has two problems:Ã First, she meant Ã¢â¬Å"tenetÃ¢â¬ ; and second, even if Ã¢â¬Å"tenantsÃ¢â¬ were correct, the verb Ã¢â¬Å"wasÃ¢â¬ is singular whereas Ã¢â¬Å"tenantsÃ¢â¬ is plural. Ã This client was not accepted into any Canadian law schools, despite the fact that her errors were corrected.Ã She did get accepted in England. The moral of the story:Ã If you want to get into law school, or be elected for a second term, get straight about the difference between Ã¢â¬Å"tenetÃ¢â¬ and Ã¢â¬Å"tenant.Ã¢â¬ Ã I understand that Ã¢â¬Å"nÃ¢â¬ sound just wants to come out somehow, but try to keep it in check. So what do you think?Ã One term or two?Ã Perhaps thatÃ¢â¬â¢s really the important question here.