Posted tagged ‘grammar’

Valentime’s Day

February 14, 2016


I am a romantic.  But I am also a curmudgeon.  Being a Romantic Curmudgeon is an oxymoron?  Just who are you calling a moron?   Anyway, you’ve probably noticed that Valentine’s Day is commonly mispronounced as Valentime’s Day.   I searched a bit to see if I could discover why but there seems to be no consistent explanation, although there is a lot of interesting … and humorous … discussion here.  I found this interesting:

It has a lot to do with the formation of the phonemes in the mouth. We have a tendency toward certain phonemic combinations that are easier to pronounce when speaking quickly. When you say, “Valentimes”, the progression through your mouth (pay attention to your tongue), is from back to front. If you say, “Valentines”, there is a break in that pattern where your tongue must slip backwards to pronounce the “-ines” portion of the word. Our mouths and tongues like easy, and will seek that out when possible. It is linguistic laziness.

I also discovered that the world seems to be neatly divided into those who find the mispronunciation very annoying and those that don’t give a rat’s patoot.  I would fall in the former group (partly because I’m not sure what a patoot is), somewhat short of a Grammar Nazi but certainly a member in good standing of the Grammar Police.  So, let’s make this clear: ValentiNe’s Day. (more…)



October 24, 2013

itsFifteen years ago, when I was taking creative writing courses as Cal State Fullerton, my writing teacher would read two pages of our work a week and provide suggestions.  Having a published author critique your work was, in itself, worth the course tuition.  It was not, however, intended to be editing or proofreading.  Three weeks into the semester, after repeatedly marking in red my misuse of its and it’s, she scrawled this in the margin: The next time I have to correct an its or it’s, I will no longer critique your work.  That night when I got home, taped the page in a place of prominence at my desk where I couldn’t avoid remembering it’s message.  And since then, its very rare that I misuse it’s and its.  I also suffer form a from of local dyslexia … pairs of letters in words routinely switch order as I type, and when the result is still a word … as in form and from … it slips by the spellchecker.  I used to consistently spell beleive incorrectly until someone pointed out the interesting fact that believe … correctly spelled … contained the word lie.  Perfect for politics.  Then there’s your and you’re and their and they’re.  I know the difference but as I’m scrambling to post before the day ends, one sometimes slips by.   You’ve probably noticed.  Hopefully my writing teacher doesn’t follow my blog.  I can see it now.  Comment: If you misuse your or you’re one more time, I’m unfollowing Older Eyes.  And OK, how about commas?  I tend put one, wherever the sentence pauses, in my head.  Hence, my fragmented thinking, makes me a chronic comma overuser.  Although I usually catch my own punctuation and spelling indiscretions immediately after pushing the publish button, I almost never catch them on any of the blogs I read.  That could mean you all are better at this spelling and punctuation game than I am … or that I’m more self-critical than critical.  What are the chances of that? (more…)

Like, Soundin Stoopid

December 14, 2011

I do not come from academic roots.  As far as I know, I was the first person in my family to attend college.  But that doesn’t mean that I don’t come from educated roots.   Both my mother and father were self-educated on a wide range of subjects.   As my brother, Glenn, said in our eulogy to Dad, Dad never lost his thirst for knowledge. He spent hours in the library reading and teaching himself. Except for the last few years, he read more books than anyone I know. He made constant trips to the library and brought them home three and four at a time and back again before the week was out. He was the most self-educated man I knew and could hold a conversation and match wits with anyone on any level.  My mother studied art and music at home and watched the paper for events of scientific interest like meteor showers and celestial occurrences.   I have no doubt that given different circumstances, they would have excelled in college. (more…)

Grammar School

September 28, 2011


When I was in high school way back in the early nineteen sixties, every English class spent time diagramming sentences.  Those of you with Younger Eyes who have never have seen a diagrammed sentence used as a means of teaching grammar can read about it, here.  It wasn’t fun but it worked.  According to Teaching Today, this was part of the prescriptive approach to grammar,  teaching grammar as a discrete set of rigid rules to be memorized, practiced, and followed.  Modern teachers, on the other hand, use descriptive grammar, believing that grammar instruction should be matched to the purpose of the user. Teachers found descriptive grammar theories to be more flexible, reflecting actual usage and self-expression over “correct” structuresSome people credit the descriptive approach with a general loosening of rules regarding grammatical structures that were once considered unacceptable, such as split infinitives.  Well, duh … you get what you pay for.  I don’t have listen to too many conversations (I think I’d like these ones), read too many comments on message boards or even notice too many roadside signs to know that the grammar is no longer regarded as important**. (more…)

Who’s Teaching Whom?

October 23, 2010

OK, I’ll admit it.  The original title of this post was Who’s Teaching Who? My first impulse is not always grammatically correct, you see.   In fact, I prefer the sound of Who’s Teaching Who? but given the subject matter of the post … as you’ll see shortly … I figured I’d better opt for the correct usagewho as the subject of a sentence and whom as the object of a verb or preposition.   Does anyone diagram sentences anymore?  No. (more…)