Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Freeze, Grammar Police!

by Shannon Baker
Your going to love it!

Everyone picked up there turkey.

Its going to rain all over it’s car.

Are your teeth set on edge yet? Does it make you cringe? Yeah, I thought it might. This kind of thing makes me mutter under my breath and complain to anyone handy. When my children were young there used to be a commercial on television for a multivitamin. The announcer would say, “Calcium, like in milk. Vitamin C, like in oranges.” I exploded. Every. Single. Time. From that one commercial alone I trained my children.

Not to speak correct grammar, but to run for the remote at the first hint of the jingle. They knew if they didn’t hit mute, I’d start shouting, “As! As! You moron!”

Now all grown up and not around to hear my tirades, they’ll torture me by taking pictures of grammatical crimes and sending them to my phone. Children never lose their delight in tormenting parents... or maybe it’s just my children.

Like the Irish and the police force in Boston, I come by my grammar sensitivity through blood. My paternal grandmother, a woman I admire in so many ways, was an English teacher in the early 1920’s. That woman respected the language. When her sons married women who might have been a little lax in their grammar and punctuation, especially when jotting quick letters to their mother-in-law, she would get out her red pen and go to work. 

Then she’d mail the corrected letters back. I’m sure she thought she was helping them out by teaching them correct usage. I am pretty sure they didn’t take it that way.

I’m not that demanding, really. I mean, all of us have hurried along and popped off with the wrong word. I have a devil of a time with lie, lay, laid. And for some reason past and passed can trip me up. I should also admit to an incorrect affect versus effect from time to time. 

Mistakes can be made. And I’m a forgiving person. Stop laughing. I can forgive. If I want to. If I really, really want to.

 However, I draw the line on certain things. A person must have standards and mine begin with:

They will shape their own destiny. 

I can barely type that without jumping from my chair and stomping around the room. The Man With Endless Patience looks at me expectantly whenever some idiot sports announcer mistakenly spouts it. I never disappoint. “YOU CAN’T SHAPE YOUR OWN DESTINY!” 

Look it up. Destiny is…predestined. You don’t change it because it’s…destiny. 

Being a big Nebraska Cornhusker fan and the Huskers being what they’ve been in the last several years, I hear this asinine phrase so often I’m surprised I haven’t burst a vein.

The other phrase that makes me clench my teeth and dig my fingernails into my palms is:

 I could care less. 

Really? Do you mean you COULDN’T care less? Or could you care less a little more?

I know, you’re probably like my children and are rolling your eyes and thinking that I need even more therapy. You want to tell me to stay calm and read some Jane Austin. 

But deep inside, you know I’m right. It’s our language. Our words.  So come on, out with it. What is that common misused word or stupid phrase that makes your back teeth hurt?


Beth Groundwater said...

My husband, who used to judge science fairs, couldn't stand it when the kids mixed up affect and effect in their posters.

Deborah Sharp said...

People who don't grasp the difference between imply and infer get my goat. Good post!

Aimee Hix said...

People lie, chickens lay and getting laid is a euphemism for having sex.

Mine is anyways. How does one pluralize anyway?