Caroline B. Le Row (1844–1914), a teacher in the Brooklyn public schools, wrote Mark Twain in December 1886 that she lived “in a state of chronic and impotent rage at the process going on every hour of every day in nearly every school—ancient and modern swill ladled by the gallon into the pint cups of children's brains and crammed down with the handle.”1 To prove the point, Le Row enclosed a manuscript listing silly mistakes and malapropisms high school English students across the country had made in their recitations and examinations, including such hilarious blunders as these:

  • Aborigines, a system of mountains.

  • Ammonia, the food of the gods.

  • Auriferous, pertaining to an orifice.

  • Demogogue, a vessel containing beer and other liquids.

  • Equestrian, one who asks questions.

  • Eucharist, one who plays euchre.

  • Franchise, anything belonging to the French.

  • Republican, a sinner mentioned...

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