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Neighbors: Moorhead reader sets us straight on grammar

Bob Lind

“Me and him went to town.” “Jim and her are leaving.” “They have went to Hendrum, Minn.”

Those kind of grammatical goofs drive Judy Kovarik up the wall.

Judy, of Moorhead, is a proof reader by training who notices such errors in The Forum and elsewhere.

Newspaper folks continually strive to use correct grammar, but occasionally a grammatical mistake is made. This column’s writer admittedly has made his share of them.

So, seeing a letter to the editor Judy sent in about grammar, Neighbors asked her for poor word choices she’s spotted in The Forum and elsewhere.

She came back with these:

“A smaller amount of cars on the highway.” It should be “fewer number of cars.”

“Give it to Mary and I” and “She made a beautiful blanket for my wife and I.” Bad.

“This problem is between she and I.” That one, Judy writes, makes her “wretch and gag.”

Her background

Judy grew up in Bemidji, Minn., graduated from Bemidji State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education, then was certified in developmental and remedial reading for grades kindergarten through 12 and in middle school language arts. She then taught and worked in the library at the Bug O Nay Ge Shig School in Cass Lake, Minn.

Both of her parents, George and Rhoda Hagberg, were avid readers. So was Judy, almost as soon as she was old enough to read.

As a youngster, “I always loved spelling and history,” she says. “The summer before ninth grade, grammar finally hit me like a bolt of lightning and it all made sense. Now I could be like the smart kids!

“I took two years of high school Latin and a year of college French.

“I happen to love diagramming sentences. I have so many ideas that I have used to casually teach grammar and spelling.”

She was a proofreader for the Native American Press/Ojibwe News, Cass Lake, when her first husband, Bill Lawrence, operated it.

Six years after she and Bill were divorced, she married Jim Kovarik and moved to Moorhead. Jim is employed at Oak Grove High School, Fargo, and Judy is a tutor for the Moorhead Indian education program at Horizon Middle School and will be a substitute teacher there this fall.

Grim grammar

There you have some of Judy’s history. And there you have some of Judy’s thoughts on the use and misuse of words.

Neighbors hopes this column don’t have too many of them there grammatical goofs.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, N.D. 58107; fax it to 241-5487; or e-mail