Tuesday, April 29, 2008

GGA (Grammar Geeks Anonymous)

I want this shirt. In fact, I need this shirt. Possibly like I need air.
Okay, the picture isn't loading properly. So I'll just tell you what it says:
I am the grammarian about whom your mother warned you.

Why? Because it’s funny, of course.

My name is Kimberly, and I’m a Grammar Geek.

I read Eats, Shoots, and Leaves simply for the laughs. I’m a member of the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar (SPOGG), The Apostrophe Protection Society, and the Semicolon Appreciation Society (and I laughed my ass off at this). I’m firmly against text-messaging spelling anywhere outside of a text message, and loathe the lack of capitalization and punctuation that permeates the internet. I celebrate National Punctuation Day. I think this is a fabulous idea.

But somehow, my friends seem to think they should fear my red pen as well. Not so. There are only four instances when I will correct your grammar:

1) You are my student. (And you bet your ass grammar is a part of your grade. Spelling counts, too.)

2) You specifically ask me to. (You send me a sentence and ask where the comma goes, and I’ll tell you. I’ll proof your cover letter. Whatever. It’s my job. I spent a lot of time and money learning fun phrases like “pronoun antecedent”—someone should get some use from it. And quit reading me your resume before you ask. I know you’re literate and I don’t think less of you because you want to know if/why something is wrong or how to fix it. In fact, I think that shows your intelligence.)
3) It might embarrass you if I don’t. (This is the one instance where I give unsolicited grammar advice. I figure you want to know about the big honking misplaced apostrophe on your web site before someone important sees it and calls you on it.)
4) There’s no freaking excuse for the mistake. (Okay, so this one doesn’t apply to my friends, and I don’t actually do much except bitch and moan about it, but, Jumpin’ Gerunds, Big Business, hire a proofreader! I have no patience for signs, magazines, or professional web sites with poor grammar or incorrect punctuation. English majors are a dime a dozen, and we’re starving. We work for $9/hour, and we can save you tons of embarrassment. Hire us and quit abusing the language.)

(Notice how none of these situations are oral. I don’t correct spoken grammar—not even AC’s. Research shows there are two great ways to teach grammar to others: model correct grammar in your own speech and give them books to read. Take note, my seventh-grade English teacher, that neither of these involves hundreds of fill-in-the-blank worksheets or sentences to diagram. You killed a tree for nothing, Lady!)

Am I perfect? God, no. Y’all have been subjected to some pretty major typos on this blog (and I’ve been known to go back and correct them long after the fact just because it embarrasses me), but the English language as a whole is taking quite a beating these days. I don’t know who or what to blame, but I’m starting to feel like the Grumpy Grammarian. I feel tweed against my skin and taste the dust of library tomes. Get me some horn-rimmed glasses and sensible shoes.

Just don’t get me any shoe's.

So what’s your pet peeve? It doesn’t have to be grammatical.

****Don't forget: Tomorrow at noon is the deadline to enter the Spoil Me Silly contest!


Playground Monitor said...

u r 2 kewl pc

Pet peeves?

* He could feel her fingers gliding into his hair is NOT passive voice for crying out loud!

* Please stop talking on your cell phone, empty your damn grocery cart and check out in a timely manner so I can get checked out before my ice cream melts.

* Do not honk your horn at me the moment the light turns red.

* Unless you are my mother or my husband, do not call me "hon." I'm not your "hon."

* Rude people. Good manners cost nothing and bring great rewards. Use them please.

* Once you've checked out at the grocery store, please don't leave your cart in the middle of the only parking space within a mile of the front entrance. See #5.

* "...and like i was like you know like walking and like it was like raining and like I didn't have an umbrella and like you know my hair got all wet and like..." 'Nuff said.


Barbara Vey said...

You all pretty much covered my pet peeves, but spelling is a big one.

It is especially irksome in a book. It actually stops my reading dead and disrupts the flow of the story. I can understand it in ARCs, but not in the book.

And don't even get me started on signs in stores (Sale starts tommorrow...ackkk!)

Lynn Raye Harris said...

AMEN, SISTER!!! Wit'chya all the way on that! But I like my LOLs now. And my ROFLs. Even when texting, however, I can't bring myself to say U R anything. I must type it all out.

And I'm with PM on her list too! Also, people who hog the left lane when you are in the center trying to get into traffic and there's no one in the right lane. But they won't get over so you can merge.

Instigator said...

Yeah, most of my pet peeves involve my car.

We all know that I am the least likely to call you on grammar. Hello, my name is Instigator and I am comma challenged. (says the woman who had to think long and hard about the comma in that sentence). PC has tried. Angel has tried. I'm simply hopeless.


Maven Linda said...

I love semi-colons. I adore punctuation of all types, including the lowly exclamation point, though I do have a general rule about it: I almost never use it in narrative. Exclamation points are permitted in dialogue, though.

Semi-colons are very precise. How else does a reader know that this pause is more definite than the pause imposed by a comma, but of shorter duration than that ordered by a colon? And a period -- whoa. Full stop.

The most irritating errors to me are the misuse of "I" and "who." How many times have you heard supposedly educated people say something such as: "This was a life-saver for Shelby and I"? Excuse me? "This was a life-saver for I?" WHERE DID YOU GO TO FREAKING SCHOOL?

Another is using "that" to refer to people. "She's the one that slapped me." That was PC, and she probably slapped you because you make such errors in grammar. It's WHO. She's the one WHO slapped you.

I know, I know. Contemporary usage permits the use of "that" to refer to both people and objects. I don't give a flip about contemporary usage. It's wrong. So there.

Liza said...

I must say ditto to everything PM said. I also have a couple of pet peeves that involve grammar.

Use I and me correctly.

It is never me and her went to the movies(my nieces drive me crazy with this one).

Problem Child said...

Lynn- LOLs and the like are okay by me in emails too. The U R business drives me crazy, though. (And I get it in student papers...)

Maven Linda, I get the "everybody does it" excuse all the time. It doesn't make it any less *wrong.*

My daughter's Brownie Troop leader says "brung"--that drives me crazy. (yet another reason why DG has to go to the meetings.)

Playground Monitor said...

I forgot verb tenses. When I hear "We taken the back road to mama's house" I want to cringe.


Instigator said...

Ugh, one of the local TV stations has a commercial on that drives me bonkers. A woman on there says, "They were very pacific and saved my life." I want to reach through the screen and throttle her every time.


Smarty Pants said...

OMG, Instigator, I H8 that commercial 2. :)

Jen said...

Oh, great, PC! YOu know I already quake in my grammar boots every time I have to send you an email. NOW I'm totally neurotic.

terrio said...

I have everything mentioned here on my list. I'm not an English Major or a teacher or a grammarian for that matter, but I know how to speak English. And so should everyone else.

I hate to text because I have to type it all out. And that takes forever. It's a phone, freaking call me.

The other biggie is bad driving. People here CANNOT drive. I curse more in fifteen minutes in my truck than I do the entire rest of the week out of it. So I guess my biggest pet peeve is stupid people.

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Jen, your emails are fine. Don't let PC scare you. :)

Oh yes, the dreaded me and I thing. Hate that. He is smarter than me. Really? Smarter than me am?

But, in spoken language, all bets are off I guess. I know I make mistakes sometimes. And then I cringe, waiting. I once, recently, told someone that PC teached. ARGH!

Angel said...

Besides all of the above, I have one that occurs frequently at my house. My daughter, yep Drama Queen, will look at me with this supposedly cutesy look and say, "Me want one too," using this baby voice.

Hon, you are 8, not 1. Actually, you never talked like that when you were 1 either. It isn't cute, and I am not amused.

Also, annoying people who interrupt me while I write. Telemarketers or just nosy people. It isn't any of your business what I'm doing. I'm writing in public to avoid being interrupted, like you are doing right now! (Oops, that isn't dialogue, is it?) :)


terrio said...

This brings up a question. I've seen more than one person lately type "I learnt..." When did this become a word? Did I miss a memo?

And I'm serious. One of the culprits is a physics professor so I'm starting to think maybe it is a word and I never knew.

Problem Child said...

Terrio--"learnt" is actually a word, but it's primarily British usage. But it does sound odd, doesn't it?

Rhonda Nelson said...

Oh, that rhymes with "ruint." Drives me nuts. The dh uses that one all the time.

That said, I am glad that I can call on PC for my grammar questions. I just smack a comma in where I want the reader to pause and keep writing. :-)

terrio said...

PC - that makes more sense. He's a British physics professor I know. I feel better.

Another one - toward. I keep seeing "He moved towardS her." Is it right with the "s"? I think it should just be toward with no "s".

Sorry for all the questions, but these things have been bothering me lately and you seem to have all the answers. *g*

Smarty Pants said...

We should feature an "Ask the Grammar Goddess" session where people can ask PC questions like this...

Problem Child said...

This wouldn't happen to be the same prof, would it, Terrio?

Towards is primarily British, and toward is primarily American. (But that line is blurry.)

As long as you are consistent with your choice, most folks (even in GGA) won't bat an eye.

And, SP, I don't think I can handle the pressure of Grammar Goddess! (Y'all didn't witness my punctuation breakdown last night over the WIP. It wasn't pretty. Three grammar guides, the internet and DG...finally DG convinced me it probably wasn't a reject-able issue...)

terrio said...

Nope, this is from Americans. For some reason it just bothers me.

Thanks for answering my questions. I'll stick to "learned" and "toward" and not worry about it. *g*

Angel said...

Oh dear. I just had time to read that article on the semicolon. Hilarious! Reads like something you would pen, PC....

My work in progress actually has a few semicolon sentences. Don't know why. Don't think I've ever used it before. Maybe I'll send it over and get you to tell me if it's correct.



Anonymous said...

It upsets me no end when people mis-use zero and the letter O in sentences, or they say their phone number is 804 instead of 8 zero 4 My grandson needed a topic for a paper he was doing in his college English class and so I talked him into researching the use of the word zero. The teacher said it was timely and creative and he got the best grade in the class.
Also, alot of people incorrectly use A and An.
Lately, I have read alot of books that have sentences in them that end in a preposition

limecello said...

*laughs* Sometimes I go with the "text spelling" - but that really started with IMs. I'm bad with sentences too, IMing and even emails, depending on who the recipient is. I speak properly, but grammar gets me. I can't tell a gerund from a participle. The grammar unit in 8th grade was the first time I almost got a C in my life. I literally told my teacher "If someone held a gun to my head and told me to find the factitive verb, I'd tell them to pull the trigger." She thought I was joking. The only thing I can label with any confidence, are appositives.
It's sad though, because even *I* notice grammatical mistakes in books now. And double negatives are common in speech [and sometimes print] as well as misuse of the word "real." *shudders* I guess I'm a speaking grammar geek :X.

D Walker said...

Do you know where to buy the tee shirt? I saw someone wearing it but didn't think to ask her on the spot.