ONE fault very common with children, and which will strengthen with their years unless particular pains is taken to correct it, is the making use of incorrect and inelegant expressions in speaking. This habit frequently results from their being tutored in a sort of "baby language" when they first begin to talk. 

But it matters not so much how these habits have been acquired, as how we shall rid ourselves of them; for surely the family want a "clean speech," a "pure language," and will try to attain to them when their deficiencies are pointed out.

We have seen nothing better upon this subject than a few paragraphs which we will quote from the Christian Weekly for March 15, 1879. Try the method of criticism here recommended, not for strife or argument, but for mutual improvement; and we think you will be surprised at the great change which will appear in your choice of words. M. J. O.]

Nothing bespeaks a true lady and gentleman or well-bred child more than the use of correct language, pure, clean speech. 

Cultivate, my young friends, good English in every-day conversation. Unclean speech is in keeping with a smutty face, begrimed hands, and soiled clothes. Strange how easily and almost unconsciously one slides into a careless, slipshod way of talking, even when the rules of grammar are quite familiar. It is not uncommon to find people learned in all the rules of syntax who apply them to the art of writing, yet habitually talk incorrectly.

Early culture, and association with refined persons are quite essential to give purity to speech; but if one has unfortunately been deprived of these, he should continually watch his words till he gets in the habit of using decent English, for nothing so unmistakably marks one with vulgarity, no matter how elegant is the outside covering, as shabby, low-born speech.

Not long since the young folks belonging to several families in a certain neighbor- hood entered into an agreement to pay a small forfeit every time either of them made use of certain vulgarisms in speech that had become a habit with them. Old and young, large and small, soon became interested and entered into the compact. 

All had fallen into the habit, for false syntax is contagious, and spreads through whole communities when it once breaks out, and one of its worst phases is that people become affected by it without knowing it.

The treasury, the contents of which, by the way, was given to charitable purposes, for a time was pretty full. Each one was a self-appointed monitor. The plan caused considerable amusement, but what is better, completely cured the bad habit. I doubt if in that circle the horrid words "ain't," or "wont," or "have got," or "done" for "did," are ever heard. And their conversation is seldom embellished with "you know," "now a," "I tell you! what," "of course," and the like, or with high-sounding superlatives where only the moderate positives have any meaning. 

As much as I dislike slang, even what is termed the better sort of it, which, by the way, should be used very sparingly if at all, apt as it sometimes seems, I dislike these specimens of false syntax, these vulgarisms, more, and they should be carefully watched lest they creep in and spoil fair speech.

I would recommend to all my young friends who are daily associating together the formation of such a club as I have been describing for mutual benefit. 

My word for it, it is a marvelous corrector of false syntax, and the rules might extend to other bad habits, and so be constituted a reform club.