Free Advice for Harvard

I received a brochure today from Harvard University offering gift strategies by which I can enrich Harvard – as if I could make a difference anyhow in the zillions they have salted away! I was interested, however, in the high-lighted words on the cover from a 1948 graduate: “I felt like I had graduated from an institution that now truly reflects American society.” Yes: if improper English “truly reflects American society,” that phrase does it. If you go on line, you will find the following:

“The word like should never be used before a clause.

Example 1 (incorrect usage): It looks like it will rain.

Like should be used before a noun only, as in the following example:

Example 2 (correct usage): The girl looks like her mother.

“Take a close look at the two sentences above. Do you see the difference in how they are used? In the first sentence, like is followed by the clause it will rain. In the second sentence, like is followed by her mother. Whenever a subject and verb follow, remember to substitute like with either as though or as if, as illustrated in the final example below.

Example 3 (correct): It looks as if it will rain.”

Free advice for the folks at Harvard Planned Giving: check with a Princeton graduate to make sure your English usage is proper before asking them to contribute!

1 Comment

LisaJune 11th, 2019 at 10:13 pm

Why are they asking you for money anyway since you’re a Princeton Tiger and a General Theological graduate? I agree Harvard is shameless about their vast nation-state sized endowment. They do participate in the new effort to bring kids from families making under $80,000 a year to Harvard for free, a highly laudable thing. Three kids from the same family in Cornwall have gone off to Cambridge under this program which got Harvard interested in Housatonic Valley Regional HS….. two kids from other families were also accepted this year. Nice!

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