Friday, October 23, 2015
The Great X Cape
What ever happened to grammar? Do they still teach it in school?
I do not speak using proper grammar all the time. But I do know the rules of grammar and the correct way to use my words. Slang and bad habits do tend to get in the way so I am not perfect either.
My mother expected me to be perfect of course. I was not allowed, for instance, to say "ain't". I still do not say it. My siblings had an easier time of it. I think most mothers want more for the first child.
One of the expressions I use on occasion is "a whole nother thing". It drove Mom crazy. Another is a combined word using the words an and other to make another. Nother is not a word. However I have the habit of using it.
But rather than call attention to all my grammar failings I really want to call attention to some of the things others do to drive me crazy. It is more fun and maybe someone will ease my mind a bit by taking my corrections to heart.
I have no problem with slang. I understand regional ways of speaking. There are just some things that should not become everyday language. Actors, newscasters, singers, and voices for commercials need to use the correct way of speaking. Otherwise they just do not sound as intelligent.
The very worst is using x rather than esc. This has been common usage on "the street" for years. Now I hear people who are supposed to know how to speak doing it.
Rather than a criminal escaping from jail we hear the he/she has excaped. Expecially when an interview is done and we are told that officials were axed about the situation. This paragraph was hard to write because it grates so on my nerves.
Misuse of pronouns is another peeve. Pronouns are used to replace a noun. Pronouns have different forms. For instance "I am going to the store" uses I as a subject. But I should never say "Give that to I". Instead I would say "Give that to me". So why do so many people insist on saying "They will give it to you and I"? You and me is correct. If you are in doubt drop the pronoun "you". The right pronoun comes to you automatically.
Lately I have been seeing commercials in which the people talk about well-wishes. People who appear in the various forms of media thank their fans for all the well-wishes sent their way in a time of sorrow or pain.
When speaking of a person you wish that they feel well. You are speaking of the person. When you say well wishes you are speaking of the wishes. Proper grammar says that good wishes is the correct term.
Admittedly the use of good and well is confusing. I believe I am not always right when I use them but that phrase (well-wishes) sets me off.
Ending a sentence with a preposition is something of which I am often guilty. It is sheer laziness because I do not take the time to think ahead about what I wish to say.
Have you ever heard a happy couple announce, "WE are pregnant!"? No WE are not. The mother is pregnant because she is nurturing a child inside her body. WE are going to be parents or WE are looking forward to having a baby.
It is so cute when I see a small child say, " No I dinnet." The meaning is "No I didn't." It is not cute when adults say "dinnet".
It is a new thing on television to consult a relator when buying a house. It is spelled realtor and pronounced real-tor. Please.
Of huge irritation to me is the practice of dropping consonants in the middle of a word and replacing them with a hard non-sound. Cotton becomes co--on, button is bu--on, and didn't becomes di-n't. Dr Suesswould be dismayed to learn that "Hor-on Hears A Who". I know a young man whose mother proudly named her son Clinton. She ruined it by calling him Cli--on.
Now everyone take out your dictionaries and turn to the "O" section. The word often is listed. If you look at the pronunciation you will see that the word is pronounced "off-en" not "off-ten". I even have a child who mispronounces this word often. No amount of instruction changes her mind. Now her children (my adorable grandchildren) say it the same way their mother does.
In the great scheme of things these are probably not that important. At the same time the reason we set down rules for the way we use words is to have a common language. It is the way we communicate. Speaking and writing correctly should eliminate confusion rather than cause it.
Now that I have ranted I will feel better. At least until the next commercial shows someone looking at me and saying, "Let me axe you this." Maybe I will not scream.