Friday, May 21, 2010

It's "Jenny and I..." or is it???

A couple weeks ago Matt and I were toot-tooting through Holland and we came up next to this shiny SUV with an advertisement printed on the side of it for what I can only assume is the owner's new marketing business. It read:

Blah-blah-bah Marketing: Breath new life into your business!

Does anyone see the problem here? A minor detail that phonics could fix?? Or even a quick proof-read with another pair of eyes? Because this poor person - who may very well be creative and talented and would be just the person you'd want to help launch your new business - has just killed all of their chances at cutting a deal with anyone who has a somewhat discriminating eye.

You know that I'm not into doing rant posts, though sometimes it bubbles up out of me and I can't help it. Today, I can no longer contain it. I've been trying to contain it since standing in the lunch line in 4th grade (no exaggeration) and being mystified by the selection written on the white board in the cafeteria: Taco's. What, I asked myself, did the tacos possess?? The taco's what? It was then, while I may not have been able to adequately articulate it as amazingly as I do now (guffaw, guffaw), that I just knew.

I am a grammar princess. You may call it grammar police. I call it princess.

We all slaughter our language, and quite frankly, if we didn't, we'd walk around talking like stuffy freaks. Asking your friend, "About what was that movie?" just sounds kind of dumb. So we say, "Hey, what was that movie about?" Meanwhile, the guy who invented sentence-diagramming is spinning in his grave, because we ALWAYS end our sentences with a preposition, but he's just going to have to get over it.

Anyway, I have come up with a list of common mistakes that will hopefully clear the air and liberate us from this bad-grammar madness. If I can save the world one apostrophe at a time, I'll do it, by golly. Here goes...

1. Your, You're, and Yours

There's a barber shop up the road from us that has a sign in the window that always cracks us up. It boldly states, "Your next." Your next what? Your next...haircut is at 4? Your next...big break is coming??? I just always want to fill in the blank. Oh, wait, what was that? OH!!!! "You ARE next!!!!!!" So you mean, "You're next!" As in, you're implying you always have time for a walk-in!! I get it!!! *whew* Vagueness trips me out.

And there's no such thing as "your's." That dog is your's. No, that dog is yours.

2. "Could of" vs. "Could have"

I think many people are very phonetic, in that we tend to spell things as we hear them. So when I say, "I could've died on the spot," I admit that it does sound an awful lot like "I could of died on the spot." But that's not what I said. "I could HAVE died on the spot," but I made it a contraction. I'm really surprised at how many people write "could/should/would of."

3. Prolly not a word. It's probably.

4. Supposably also not a word. It's supposedly. And while I'm at it...

5. Irregardless

...isn't a word either!!! You will find it in the dictionary because it's one of those things that I think linguists have given up on (whoops, just ended that sentence with a preposition. Horrors!!). Most dictionaries WILL tell you that it's either nonstandard or incorrect. If I say, "We're going to the beach regardless of the weather," I'm saying we're going to the beach whether or not the weather is nice. Which makes sense. If I put an ir- at the beginning, that negates my statement. So if I say "We're going to the beach irregardless of the weather," I'm saying that we're going to the beach not whether or not the weather is nice. See? It just doesn't make sense.

6. "Matt and I" vs. "Matt and me" and "myself"

We've all said something like this to our moms (not mom's!!!! hahahaha): "Matt and me are going to the beach," and promptly been corrected with, "No, you say 'Matt and I are going to the beach.'" Which would be correct. But then how many times have you said, "Mary's giving Matt and me a ride to the beach," only to be corrected, once again with, "No honey, you say 'Mary's giving Matt and I a ride to the beach.'" (loud buzzer sound) No. Nonononononono. I would say that I am going to the beach, but I would never say Mary's giving I a ride to the beach. In the first example, Matt and I are the subjects and we're doing something. In the second example, someone else is the subject and is doing something for me (the object). Dust off the grammar books!!!!! The princess is in the house!!! Just take off the other person and try on the sentence with only yourself in it. To say "So-and-so and I" sounds proper, but it's not always.

Additionally, to say "myself" instead of "me" is wrong too. If you have any questions, ask Matt or myself. (loud buzzer sound again) You would never say, Talk to myself when you have a chance. You'd say, Talk to me when you have a chance. Likewise, I would never say, Hey, I need to talk to yourself when you have a chance.

See? It just makes so much sense!!! Isn't grammar fun???

7. Misuse of quotation marks

Ever been to a restaurant, and upon leaving the door has a sign that says, You're "welcome?" (Or better yet, Your "welcome?") Did it just kind of make you feel like they were saying it with a touch of sarcasm or snickering about it?? I have the feeling that what they were trying to do was emphasize the welcome - which would have been well done with some italicizing, larger font, or underlining. But to put quotes around it makes it as laughable as Joey on Friends trying to do the whole quotes thing with his fingers (if you saw that episode you know what I'm talking about!!). Or a sign that says, Restrooms are for customers "only." Well shoot - the quotes around the only kind of make it look like you're rolling your eyes at such a rule and merely posted the sign because the management handed you a marker and a piece of paper and told you to make it, not because you agree with it. So I'll just barge through the restaurant and use the bathroom whether or not I (or shall I say, regardless of if) was a customer!!! So there!

And finally,

8. Using apostrophes every time something is plural

Holy cow, the tree's in my yard are spitting those helicopter thing's all over the place!

*Loud buzzer sound*

Holy cow, the trees in my yard are spitting those helicopter things all over the place!

Ahhhh...much better!

Apostrophes imply that something belongs to something. The tree's helicopter thingies are all over my yard.

And that's why the whole taco's thing threw me. What do the tacos own?, I wanted to know. The lady holding an ice cream scoop filled with Grade H taco meat just wouldn't answer me for some reason. Yet I knew: just because there's an 's' on the end of the word does not mean it begs for an apostrophe.

Okay, I have gotten roughly 23 years of grammar angst off my chest (it all started in the lunch line) and I can finally move on. And polish my crown.

If you can think of any other's (hahahaha - gotcha!) - and there are many - let me know. It'll be a good laugh.


Ellen said...

Oh, Jenny, I could just kiss you! These things drive me BATTY. Thank you for including "irregardless" on the list!

My addition is "their", "they're", and "there".

And my confession is that I say "prolly," but only with my mom. :)

CA Mommy said...

Ah..but how about it's and its? It's a cold day here in California..51 degrees and cloudy, with a cold wind blowing. Or, the dog is licking its foot because it hurts. "It's" is a contraction of "it is", while "its" is possessive. Happy Birthday to you Jennymark, hope you have a wonderful day. Love from CA Mommy

une autre mère said...

Oh my goodness! I was laughing my butt off throughout this entire post! Love it, love it, LOVE it!

Prolly one of my favorite post's yet. Im pretty sure I could of written this one myself. You and myself should get together sometime... irregardless of the distance between us. I think we'd have a lot of "fun." :)

Lizzy said...

"return back"
"for all intensive purposes"
"stationery" vs "stationary"
"alter" vs "altar"

i could go on and on...