“India was corrupt even before the British got there.”

It’s hard to explain what tickles me so about this statement. Unlike most of the “horrors” I’ve saved over the years, this one has no grammatical, usage, or stylistic problems. And probably my student said what he meant…almost. It’s that extra silly millimeter that puts me on the floor. The emphasizer, the “even.”

I can’t remember what assignment produced this observation, and perhaps its lack of context adds to its effect: it seems to come out of nowhere. At the same time, he’s so flat-out sure of himself. What a combination.

What seems to lurk behind the statement is this: Oh, sure, the British bring corruption wherever they go—that’s a given. But, if you can believe it, India was already corrupt; they didn’t have to wait for the British to come! And then when the British did come…man, you wanna talk about CORRUPTION!

Is that how my student’s declaration strikes you?

About RAB

Teacher of English writing and literature (college-level); academic-freedom activist; editor and copy editor; theater director, costumer, actress, playwright. View all posts by RAB

3 responses to ““India was corrupt even before the British got there.”

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