Some people collect sports memorabilia, or rare coins, or sea shells from the beach at Ocean City. Wilson Watson collects sentences.
He taught local community college students for 35 years and has now slipped gently into retirement. But his students’ sentences trail behind him like ship’s anchors, evidence of the sinking of American writing skills.
Or, as one of Watson’s scholars wrote so succinctly: “Some people use bad language and is not even aware of the fact.”
A few more gems:
• “The person was an innocent by standard, who just happened to be the victim of your friend’s careless responsibility.”
• “Society has moved toward cereal killers.”
• “Romeo and Juliet exchanged their vowels.”
• “Willie Loman put Biff on a petal stool.”
• “Another effect of smoking is it may give you cancer of the thought.”
• “The children of lesbian couples receive as much neutering as those of other couples."
Or, when asked to use the past tense of “fly” in a sentence: “I flought to Chicago.”