Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Grammar Rant

This entry is link-heavy, only because I am using the links to substantiate claims within the post. Sort of a lazy person’s footnote system, if you will. Yes, I know the previous sentence is a fragment, thankyouverymuch, MicroSoft Word. I never pretended to portray myself as perfect.


I’ve been getting the itch to write a grammar/ spelling rant, and this post at All Right Here? prodded me into action. It’s an excellent post, by an English teacher, discussing the book Eats, Shoots, and Leaves.

When did everybody forget the concept behind contractions? I’m not talking about the kind that precedes a birth! It just annoys me to no end when I see the misuse of "it's" and "its"- and "it's" misused everywhere! “You’re” and “your” are two completely different words with completely different connotations. They are not interchangeable.

A piece of nit-picking that ManThing and I share is the use of words such as good vs. well, and less vs. fewer. Sometimes, when speaking, I find myself paying extra attention to the use of good vs. well, so that I won’t leave an opening for ManThing to tease me mercilessly. For several weeks, there was a billboard I saw every day on my way to work. It was for a major company, and it read: “Less calories. More yum.” Each time I drove past I would feel the need to yell “FEWER!!” Another billboard offender on my daily drive was: “Mother Nature. With a couple revisions.” This, of course, elicited the yelling of “It’s ‘a couple OF revisions!’ OF, damn you!!”

I am a spelling snob from way back. This began when, in second grade, I beat the pants off of all the fifth graders at my school’s spelling bee. It only got worse after that. Once, I got into an argument with one of my teachers over the correct spelling of the word "judgment." I thought it had an "e." She disagreed, vehemently, and we looked it up. We were both right, though she was “more” correct than I; I’ll admit that now. Some spellings are less rigid than others. Some are definitely not; for example…"definitely." It is not spelled “definately,” as I so often see it abused. It is an expansion of the word definite- do you see an “a?” Neither do I.

When one sits down to eat, it is not in a “dinning room.” It is supposed to have one “n.” ONE! Dining! One letter can make the difference between eating and just making lots of noise. Conversely, what you are eating is not “diner;” unless you are very, very hungry.

The following is particular to the architectural world, and the reason I remember it is because a professor made a big show of pointing out anybody who got it wrong: fluorescent lights. If you see something written as “flourescent,” it probably belongs in a bakery.

“I am loosing my mind.” Really? You are releasing it into the wild? Fascinating. Was it bred in captivity? Or, did you actually mean “losing?”



Anonymous said...

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2ManyHobbies said...

To add to your rant, this is my pet peeve and I hear it all the time:

"There's lots of people here."

Mike said...

Thanks for linking my post about Eats, Shoots and Leaves. Just to let you know I pull my hair out about "definately" and "your/you're" errors too - probably the words I have to correct the most in my students' writing.

I'm sure it'll continue to bug the hell out of me for the rest of my career...