We recently attended Marlena’s continuation ceremony. She was recognized for her athleticism in cross county track. There was a slide show with images of the students during the school year, speeches from teachers and students alike, and a truncated graduation ceremony where each student walked across the stage and received a continuation certificate from the principal.
It was lovely.
There was one little fly in the ointment however. Multiple times throughout the speeches the adult speakers congratulated the students on having continuated. As in:
“Congratulations on having…um…continuated to high school”
“As you continuate to high school…”
I wanted to leap up from my seat and shriek “The word you are seeking is ‘continue’! As you continue to high school, congratulations on continuing!”
Instead I remained in my seat and watched my mother and father share in my horror as the word ‘continuated’ fell from the lips of educator after educator.
Is it because we congratulate people on having graduated, or on graduating? Were the two words mixed up in the minds of the teachers? Was it fear of public speaking or the stress of the two hour long event in an overly hot auditorium filled with hundreds of parents? Could it be the internet age with it’s emoticons and memes slowly bastardizing the English language?
Whatever the cause the effect was jarring. I was pulled immediately out of the meat of whatever the speaker was saying each time I heard the misuse of continue and sent pondering the steps that led up to the use of that word.