Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Mama is Victorian about her grammar


I like to stay up to date on many things. I do not like to adopt every modern phrase and misuse of grammar that pops into common use. By the time you read this, more than likely I will have been correcting your grammar for years, and you probably will have heard me mention all these things.

In case you forget, I will write a primer of the most common grammar abuses in my world, or at least the ones that irritate me the most.

1. Texes. People use this word as the plural for text messages. I hate this one. If you don't want to say text messages, say texts. At least that is a real word. Note: Texes is also not how you pronounce the state. That would be Texas.

2. Adding "-age" to words at will. Signage is not a word. Verbage is not a word. Do you want to say more than one sign? Signs would be the word you're looking for. Stop using word vomit.

3. Using contractions improperly. Contractions were invented for people who were too lazy to finish two whole words by smashing them together. I love this invention. What I do not love are sentences that place contractions in compromising situations. Here is an example: Where's the kids? Here is what's wrong with it: "Where's" is short for "Where is." Now we all know saying "Where is the kids" is improper because "is" and "kids" don't agree in number.

Which leads me into

4. When nouns and verbs don't agree in number.

Which leads me into

5. When pronouns and antecedents don't agree in number. I know letters shouldn't be added to math, but numbers belong in grammar. Figure it out.

7. The abuse of "-ly" words. A word ending in "-ly" is an adverb. That means it is a word that describes a verb. One of the most common victims is "hopefully." You'll see it used like this "Hopefully she'll be feeling better tomorrow." What that person meant was "I hope she'll be feeling better tomorrow." Using it properly would look more like this: "She asked the doctor hopefully if she would start feeling better." Why is that one proper? Because "hopefully" is describing how she asked. Other common victims are "thankfully" and "prayerfully."

8. Ending sentences with unnecessary prepositions. I can't adjust to this one. Such simple phrases as "Where's it at?" end up in grammar train wrecks! A concise "Where is it?" is the way to go. Stop embarrassing every English teacher you've ever had and don't tack prepositions onto the end of perfectly good sentences.

9. Impacted. This poor word is extremely misused in my line of work, where people enjoy saying something impacted them, meaning something had great meaning to them. Here's the thing, "impacted" is an adjective. That means it describes a noun. The definition is "tightly or immovably wedged in" (thanks to for the definition). So if I say my pastor has greatly impacted my life, what I'm actually saying is he crammed my life into a too-small space. Hmm. I think what I mean is he had an impact on my life. I knows all these nouns, verbs, and adjectives can get confusing. If you need me to explain them to you, ask. Some English concepts are hard to grasp the first time you learn them. I'd love to explain them you. While we're at it, we'll diagram some sentences together. It's one of my favorite pastimes!

Which leads me to

10. It's a pastime. It is not a passtime. It is also not a pass time. 

Kole, in the long run, good grammar isn't life and death. What's most important is that you're loving, kind, and thoughtful. If you can express that in a way that makes Strunk and White smile, that's just gravy.


  1. Xoxoxo this is fabulous. I don't always have the best grammar, but I at least give it some thought and effort.

  2. I don't think I have ever heard someone say 'texes'! That's weird. I am guilty of using 'hopefully' and 'thankfully' and probably many other things, so I hope I haven't contributed too much to your irritation...:)
    The errors that drive me crazy are there/their/they're and your/you're.

  3. Do people even understand the concept of grammar? I think texting is really ruining the ability to write and spell. On another subject, I heard that schools were going to stop teaching cursive writing!