Hey eighth-graders at Belle Haven Community School in Menlo Park, California: while it must have been cool to have Mark Zuckerberg address your class as you ascend to high school, try not to take away his use of grammar as a lesson.
Do not say: "There's no shortcuts" to success. The correct use: "There are no shortcuts."
Then again, I'm sure grammar is the last thing on Zuckerberg's mind. (To be fair, he does have some big things looming, like bringing Facebook to China, or the next animal he is going to kill.) For billionaires and others in such high echelons, it is probably subjective. Probably. Right. But it is one of those things that attending Harvard doesn't guarantee.
To his credit, the grammar slip is something many of us probably do every day. It's something that comes out in colloquial exchanges, and were Zuck to write it out, I'm sure he would self-correct. And by no means am I any kind of strident grammar police. I have been on the other end of that enough, with the random voice messages left at 2 a.m. harping on incorrect usage. But if you're going to talk to a group of kids and lead by example, is it OK to be as casual with language as how you dress for such an event? Facebook may have changed the way we communicate, but is it also going to change proper use of language?
See Zuckerberg speak to the kids in this video, which also catches the school's principal Maria Ibarra mangling his name to Zuckerman. (Stick with Mr.Z, lady!)
Zuckerberg admitted not remembering much about his own middle school graduation, but did talk about a teacher who left a lasting impression on him, particularly with pirate talk. He also talked what he and his people have done "to not succumb to the attitude of I can't":
- Everything that's worth doing is actually pretty hard and takes a lot of work.
- Focus on building great friendships.
- Do what you love.
Menlo Park, close to Facebook's current headquarters in Palo Alto, will be the home of the company's new HQ. Looks like Zuck is trying to get off on the right foot with his new neighbors, which might explain his presence at a middle school graduation.
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