The Nation: More Agreeabler Than Most

Jefferson's mistress, Kennedy's indiscretions, Nixon's contempt for the law—is there no end to the exposes about the failings of U.S. Presidents? Apparently not, for now we hear that George Washington was absolutely awful at spelling, grammar and punctuation. Some samples from his writing: "I passed the time . . . much more agree-abler than what I imagined I should" and "went ahunting . . . and catched a fox." Among his misspellings: expedate, ingaged, turkie, burrying and bairskin.

Grammarians Louis G. Heller of New York's City College and James Macris of Clark University...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!