Busted

Former English teacher makes edits to Trump letter and sends it back to the White House

Update, 5/28/18: It turns out, the letter may not be so error-riddled after all. As many have pointed out, almost all of Mason’s edits are regarding capitalization. The letter capitalizes the words “federal,” “state,” “nation,” and “president” even when they are not components of proper nouns. But according to The New York Times, the capitalizations are in accordance with the White House style guide.

A style manual for the federal government calls for capitalizing “Nation” and “Federal” when the words are used as a synonym for the United States. It says “State” should be capitalized when it is referring to the government or legislature. In letters from Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush that constituents posted online, words like “Nation” and “President” are capitalized.

The title of this article has also been updated to reflect the facts as we know them.

The article in its original form continues below:

After receiving a reply from a letter she wrote to the White House about February’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Yvonne Mason of South Carolina saw a lot of mistakes she’d seen over and over in her years as a teacher.

“I have never, ever, received a letter with this many silly mistakes,” Mason said according to the Greenville News.

So Mason corrected the letter and mailed it back to the White House.

From the Greenville News:

Mason recognizes, of course, that the form letter she received from the president was very likely written by a staff member, not Trump, though the letter does include Trump’s signature.

Amongst the letter’s flaws were unnecessary capitalizations of words such as “nation,” “federal,” “president,” and “state.”

Photo courtesy of Margaret Mason Tate

“When you get letters from the highest level of government, you expect them to be at least mechanically correct,” Mason said.

Although she was tempted to add a grade to the letter, she chose not to, only telling the Greenville News that if she had, she most likely would have given it a “C or C-plus” if it was written by a middle schooler.

“If it had been written in high school, I’d give it a D,” she said.

Featured image via Yvonne Mason/Greenville News

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