I think I know why our the schools our children attend when they are young are now called elementary schools instead of grammar schools. It's because they don't know anything about grammar. Or at least the people that write the materials they use don't.
I've come to this conclusion after looking at homework from all three of my boys, the eldest now an adult, the youngest still in grade school.
What triggered this tirade is an article in none less than Time magazine, or at least an offshoot of it. Time For Kids is circulated through the schools and is actually used as part of my children's homework. And in a recent issue, the subject of the back page was eating a healthy diet.
That's right, I said a healthy diet, because that's what TFK called it.
What, you don't see the problem? That's because you grammar school lost its way when it comes to grammar. Diets are not healthy or unhealthy. If you wish to be healthy, one good way is to eat a healthful diet. People can be healthy, as can animals and even plants. But the animals we eat are not healthy; they are dead. Some of the plants may not be dead when we eat them, but they certainly are soon afterwards.
By the way, the thesaurus on my Mac computer screws this up, too. It says that the antonym for healthful is unhealthy. Wrong! The antonym for healthful is unhealthful. This kind of thing is infectious. And unhealthful.
Look, it really isn't that complicated. If something can get sick, it can also be healthy. By metaphoric extension, an economy can also be healthy, although not many are these days. But a diet can't be healthy because a diet cannot get sick.
A diet can be healthful. It can also be beneficial, nutritious, nourishing, wholesome, and sustaining.
But no matter what you do to it, your diet is never going to be healthy.