Not that I am known to go on endless rants via blog, but N does get a lot of the rebuttals from me. It’s hard to evaluate your emotions because when else do you do it besides when you are furious or overwhelmingly jovial, when they are at its peak. Come to think of it, I don’t really care! I am very content right now. (Aside from my N key not functioningly properly. I have to hit it really hard to work. Funny out of context–N is not functioning properly.) Maybe it’s because I am surrounded by this perpetual state of bleakness, but it feels so good to sit down and think, “Shit. I am happy.” Appreciate it!

Okay, so aside from all the sentimental mumbo-jumbo that we, as seniors, are prone to at the end of year… I’d like to take a moment and exercise my self-asserted grammar and syntax control. It is “centered ON” not “centered around”. You revolve around something and you center on something. And, did you know that while you are reading an article on NY Times, you can highlight then double click a word to define it? How neat is that!! I think it’s really neat.

Yesterday, I tried, for the life of me, to sustain a casual, intelligble and reasonable conversation with Ms. Vaeth concerning graduation during lunch only to be walked away from in the end. I saw her sitting in Cougar Hall eating a double-patty chicken sandwich, so I decided to sit down with her and talk to her. I asked her several (Why does “several” seem to not do my questioning justice?) questions–“Do you really feel like it’s proper and justifiable to impart your values onto an entire class who feels otherwise?”, “Would you compromise your values for the sake of others (the seniors)?”, “Who is on the graudation committee and how heavily does their concensus affect your decision?”, “Why is it necessary to conform to neighboring principal’s ideas?”, “Isn’t it more important to continue a tradition that has been set already?”, “Don’t you feel it’s the class president’s honor to address his class?”, “What role will the class president play in graduation?”, “What, if any, are the negative outcomes of having a Speaker-at-Large at graduation?”, “Don’t you think it’s important to be able to relate to the speaker and by limiting it to only Valedictorians, you are also limiting that pool?”, “Isn’t graduation more than just academics?”, “Are any of the plans for graduation final?”, “Is there a definite schedule of speakers?”, “How many Valedictorians actually want to speak? How many submitted speeches?”. I think I was conveying my concerns and obvious position on the matter and she did as well, and our opinions are on opposite sides of the spectrum. Basically, what I gathered from that conversation was that a) she will uphold her opinions regarding what is “important” at graduation–Academics only, b) the only student representation we have on this matter is through the graduation committee and c) everything is tentative and we have until Tuesday, June 12th, our first graudation practice, to change things. Journalistic persistence at its finest, I’d say.

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Comments ( 5 )

No no no, I challenge your syntactical prowess.

Refer to the following definition as a hint for acceptable usage of center when it is a verb without an object:

28. to come to a focus; converge; concentrate (fol. by at, about, around, in, or on): The interest of the book centers specifically on the character of the eccentric hero. Political power in the town centers in the position of mayor.

My own addition: Her argument centered around the obtuse notion that academics alone should play a primary role in what was supposed to be a celebration of all our great achievements, academic and otherwise.

I believe you should say something centers “on” something when that object is clearly defined whereas “around” should be used when the object of center is a little bit fuzzy. So do I emerge as a champion of connotation? Hahaha.

Regarding the Vaeth question, I think our battle plan should be modified to accomodate for her dogmatism. So she thinks only academics are important at graduation. Rather than try and force her to change her mind (which we all know is going so well), perhaps we ought to use her own definition to our advantage.

Resolution: The class president does indeed showcase the academic aspect.

I mean, come on, Chris takes AP classes and gets good grades. Who could say that he is a negative example for the senior class even if he should be reduced to an academic symbol? Colleges are all about leadership and school involvement. Chris is not only a great student but a connected one. By allowing him to speak, Ms. Vaeth would in fact be supporting academics.

I say we give up on the idea of a speaker-at-large and concentrate on having Chris and Mr. Gross speak. How can she say that Mr. Gross, the creator of friggin’ SCHOOLLOOP, is non-academic in any way? In fact, he has facillitated the process of learning, helped us keep track of our assignments, and lightened the burdens that our teachers faced in communicating with us about our grades. He has also touched us, and it is this human element, this deeper understanding of us both as students and as human beings, that makes him so memorable. People look down on academics only when they feel that is does not teach them anything about the real world. If Ms. Vaeth truly wanted to support the idea of academics, she would battle this stereotype and allow people like Chris and Mr. Gross to speak. Because they are more well-known, they have the capacity to reach greater audiences and inspire them to continue nurturing the academic aspects of their lives.

“An understanding heart in everything is a teacher, and cannot be esteemed highly enough. One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feeling.” –Carl Jung

Don’t worry, I’m having my parents say all this to Vaeth as well, but I thought this would be a more effective route to take than trying to challenge her belief that academics are everything.

I’m going to repost this on the Facebook group. Hopefully people are doing more than undermining the right of the Valedictorians to speak.

Michelle added these pithy words on Jun 02 07 at 4:51 pm

Michelle, you are right in that “centers on” means that the object is clearly defined, but “centers around” should not imply a fuzzy center.

In my opinion, “centered” implies fixed and distinct whereas “around” implies not fixed and indistint. Taking these definitions, wouldn’t “centered around” be oxymoronic?

It is “centered on” and “revolved around”. I think there is confusion over this because it’s so frequently used incorrectly that we assume the most common is the more accurate.

Millie added these pithy words on Jun 02 07 at 5:16 pm

I should be writing my fiction paper, but the work got so tedious I just had to check again. Grammar’s much more fun than make-up work.

Language is constantly evolving. I don’t think it’s a matter of incorrect usage but of preference. Please refer to the usage note below:

Usage Note: Traditionally, the verb center may be freely used with the prepositions on, upon, in, or at; but some language critics have denounced its use with around as illogical or physically impossible. But the fact that writers persist in using this phrase in sentences such as The discussion centered around the need for curriculum reform, a sentence that 71 percent of the Usage Panel accepts, suggests that many people perceive center around to best represent the true nature of what they are trying to say. Indeed, in an example like A storm of controversy centered around the king, the only appropriate choice seems to be around. Still, if one wishes to avoid the phrase center around, the phrase revolve around is available as an option. Since center can represent various relations involving having, finding, or turning about a center, the choice of a preposition depends on what is intended. There is ample evidence for usages with each preposition listed above. The Panel accepts all of these uses except the one with at. Seventy-seven percent reject the sentence The company has been centered at Atlanta for the last five years.

I just think it’s awkward to say someone’s argument revolves around something because I don’t think of an argument as a moving entity. To say it centers around something seems to imply to me that it is attempting to find a fixed point though perhaps not succeeding very well.

Revolving around is not good enough for me. What of this usage for center?

29. to gather or accumulate in a cluster; collect (fol. by at, about, around, in, or on): Shops and municipal buildings center around the city square.

Would it really make sense to say shops and municipal buildings revolve around the city square? Or that they center on the city square? I suppose you could say they cluster about the city square, but that kind of phrasing deemphasizes the focal point that is the city square.

Plenty of oxymorons exist in the English vocabulary. I don’t consider this one as one, but if you do, well then I’ll call it a “useful oxymoron”, just like acting natural, being alone together, or there being a definite possibility that the notion of accuracy is purely subjective in this case.

Michelle added these pithy words on Jun 03 07 at 2:28 am

I’m going to not write an essay and say, simply, holy shit you asked a lot of questions.

Jackie added these pithy words on Jun 03 07 at 7:16 pm

Michelle doesn’t really think grammar is fun. If she did, she’d appreciate rap music.

Lil weeeeeeeezy.

Zuodi added these pithy words on Jun 03 07 at 11:23 pm

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