Retired English teacher Yvonne Mason recently made waves on social media after she decided to step up and do something that the White House staff has seemingly not done very well since President Donald Trump took office — she corrected the syntax of the commander-in-chief’s correspondence.
Mason, an Atlanta resident who opted to retire last year after a 17-year career teaching middle and high school students in South Carolina, stated that the quality of the writing on the president’s letter would have barely earned passing marks in her class. Thus, she did the only sensible thing that a teacher would do when faced with such writing. She corrected the letter and sent it back to the White House, according to a report from The Hill.
Among the most prominent mistakes in the president’s letter were multiple instances of improper capitalization of common nouns such as “president” and “state.” There were also a number of redundant expressions and overuse of the pronoun “I.” There was a dangling modifier in the correspondence as well.
Overall, Mason noted that had the letter been written in middle school; she would have given it a C or a C-plus. If the letter were written in high school, it would have earned a measly D.
“I have never, ever, received a letter with this many silly mistakes. It’s stylistically appalling,” she said.
Ultimately, Mason stated that she recognizes that the letter was likely written by a White House staff member, and not President Trump himself. Despite this, however, the correspondence does have Trump’s signature.
The White House sent Mason the correspondence in response to a letter she sent about the Parkland school shooting on February 14.
A great reminder: editing matters! "Retired high school English teacher corrects President Trump's letter, sends it back to White House" https://t.co/ELwEKHuk9V #writing #editing #copyediting pic.twitter.com/ZpvlxIXnY5— Eric G. E. Zuelow (@EZuelow) May 25, 2018
Apart from giving the White House letter a failing grade, Mason also noted that the correspondence did not really address the concerns she outlined in her letter. Mason’s letter called on the president to meet individually with family members of the Parkland shooting victims. Instead of a direct response to her letter, however, Mason stated that what she received was the president’s correspondence about general school safety.
“It didn’t address what I wrote,” she said.
Being the teacher that she is, Mason advised the government to head over to plainlanguage.gov, a website dedicated explicitly to encouraging federal officials to write clearly. In a statement to the Greenville News, Mason compared the White House’s letter unfavorably with those that she received from state Senator Lindsey Graham.
According to the retired English teacher, the Republican senator, or at least his staff, writes “exquisite” letters that at least address a particular concern.