Sunday, February 24, 2008

drop that participle...it's the fuzz!

So, I am going to let you in on a particularly interesting (to me, anyway) facet of the relationship I share with some members of my extended family. You may remember that while my current profession involves a lotta snot wiping and Balmex applying, I am just a rookie at this new gig. In my former life, I was a red-pen-toting-Canterbury-Tales-analyzing-wannabe-hip high school English teacher. This former vocation - thankless and unglamorous and low-paying as it was - had this unique ability to cause me to strike some supersonic level of paranoia in others - in particular, it seems, a few choice in-laws. I'm not referring to any Letourneau-induced paranoia - get your mind out of the gutter, you skeez - no; I am referring to that other paralysis instigating job-related Bad Guy: Grammar.

Here's the thing. I'm not going to correct your grammar. To your face. But, apparently my supposed BA Sentence-Diagramming-expertise makes me look like such an ass to some that they deem it necessary to say stuff like, "Oh. That wasn't the right way for me to end that sentence, was it?" Or, at the end of an e-mail from some, I sometimes see: "Please disregard any bad grammar that I may have written." Okay. Haha. I get it. I'm so assy that clearly I am laughing at you in my head about your inferior syntax and punctuation. Losers!

You know what's even more riveting to me than watching people get the coldsweats because of my morphological prowess? It's watching people -coughcoughcoughmotherinlawcoughcoughcough - think that they have just SHAZAM caught me in some gross misuse of our friend grammar. It causes quite a quandary on my behalf: do I go ahead and pretentiously avoid ending the sentence in its preposition - as assity ass ass as it will sound - because it's correct, or do I just speak like everyone else sans fear and not sweat it that someone is about to call me out and catch me - HA - on being craptastic at my former line of work? I know it gives some people a cheap thrill to bust me dangling my participles like I'm Debbie Does Dipthongs. And, I admit it: I make just as many grammar mistakes as others (well - maybe not all others; but most others). I forget commas and misplace modifiers quite a bit. But, okay, maybe I'm a former English teacher who you just heard lay down some slang, but it's not like I go around going, "Hey! Mr. Human Resource Manager: I do believe your previous sentence - in particular your use of the word jugs - could possibly be construed as harrassment in a professional forum, aren't I correct?"

You smell what the Rock is cooking, don't you? Let's all stick together for the sake of love and the comma. Let's cut the grammarians of the world a little slack, kay? If we won't do it, who will?

6 comments:

cory said...

I don't speak so good. what in the Sam hell is you talkin about?

what's a donzer said...

Cornflake, are you leaving comments on the blog again?

John said...

I can totally relate.

As the daughter and son of an English teacher, my sister and I were instilled with this need to correct bad grammar. The only problem is that we did it reflexively (no pun intended). It took us a few years and some age to figure out we were doing it, but we came about the epiphany around the same time.

We did have our specialties. Bridget was really good at "who/whom". I could spot a split infinitive from a mile away. And, we both just can’t let go a misuse (or lack of use to be more precise) of the subjunctive.

It has a big impact on relationships with friends and family and it is something we had to stop (or channel in the right direction). I love Skee-Lo, but when I sing "I Wish", I have to sing over the mighty Skee as loud as possible with, "I wish I were a little bit taller". It’s tough for me to watch the opening to Star Trek without saying "Damn you Roddenberry, it's 'to go boldly'"!

It took us some time, but I think that we have mostly overcome our innate need to correct others. Now it's just family gatherings where we let go a couple of months of pent up grammar corrections. Oh, and I think we are passing it onto our children, but I only notice it as a result of hearing them doing the correction to other kids.

what's a donzer said...

I am so glad that you can relate, John. Knowing that you and Bridget are out there, too, makes me feel a little less alone.

Your words also reminded me of some other words from a deeper cut of your favorite sage, Skee-Lo: "You never what could happen;Everyday situations; It could happen; you're going to the store; Somebody drop a house on you and steal yo' slippers; Who knows? Never crossed your mind"

John, here's hoping no one ever drops a house on you OR steals yo' slippers. You deserve so much more than that.

dub-b said...

And that's why I spell check all of my comments be four I submit them to you're blog.

Katy said...

I am now going to use this space to publicize my favorite grammar error...well, I have 2...
1. It is "As I said", not "like I said"
2. I feel nauseous is probably incorrect. Something nauseous causes nausea, so unless you are making other people hurl, you probably feel nauseated.

Thanks!
P.S. Please don't ban me from the blog for that - I just needed to get it off of my chest.