A Weekly Offering of This n That

Rainy Day is my alter ego. She is the little angel that sits on one shoulder and whispers in my ear to forgo that 6" piece of triple chocolate fudge with the four scoops of ice cream on it; she is also the little devil who sits on my other shoulder and convinces me that I can eat just one bite of each and be satisfied, and then laughs with such great abandon when in fact, I eat the whole thing, she falls off my shoulder. Mostly, Rainy Day helps me see the humor in living and, mostly, she encourages me down the right path. Not necessarily the straight and narrow one (how fun is that?) but the path that offers the most adventure and fun.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Rainy Day and her friend Tacoma Blue, are Word Snobs and You Should Be Too!

Rainy Day ranted the other day about how our language is, like, becoming, y'know, sloppy. Today, she rants on words in general. Standardized spelling came about because of Gutenberg and moveable type. Yes, Brits and those possessed by them, add a superfluous 'u' in many of their words, and Rainy Day doesn't mind them. They're, well, cute (sometimes). Cute? You may well aks. Would that be cute words or cute Brits? Hmmmmm....

She saw a tee shirt advertised a while back, and now is somewhat sorry she didn't order it. The tee in question said something like (y'know?) "Differences Exist Between There, They're, and Their."

Rainy Day and her friend Tacoma Blue, wonder. They belong to a variety of LinkedIn Groups and have noticed an increasing number of professionals from Engineers (who barely speak intelligible English) to Writers (who darned well should speak, or at least write, intelligible English) who either don't know the differences between those words, or don't care. If Spell Check doesn't correct them, why they seem to ask, should they bother?

Elocution is no longer taught in schools (Rainy Day isn't sure what is taught, that is truthfully useful or fun, if anything). People no longer recognize the difference between then and than.

Or pin, pen, and pan.
Ask the question, don't aks it.

It's not just the professional athletes who can't, or won't, speak beyond rudimentary Ebonish. Mispronunciations and incorrect tenses are very common on the radio and television; even the highly paid professional newscasters-entertainers sprinkle their talk with incorrect usage and pronunciation. I certainly hope they don't do it on purpose.

Rainy Day reads a lot of news articles online and frequently reads the comments, at least some of them, but many are so poorly written as to be unintelligible. Tacoma Blue comes close to shedding tears as past, present, and future tenses are all mixed together with great abandon; words are misspelled, and frequently the wrong word is used.

Just the other day, someone quoted the Bible, "And than the Lord..." uh, no. "And then..."

No, I don't want a shot, but you should know that!

And then, along came Jones, rather than Smith.

There they stood.
They're really nice people.
Their ball is the one being used for the game.

The pin holds the fabric together.
The pen writes the words.
The pan holds the soup.
Do you notice the different letters – pin, pen, pan? They are not pronounced the same;-)

"That will be three hundred four dollars AND fifty-seven cents." Note the placement of the 'and.' It is not used in numbers until, and only until, one gets to the decimal point. (Will someone please point this out to the various hosts and hostesses of TV shows on how to sell your house?)

Rainy Day could go on, but doesn't think she should have to, and besides, Tacoma Blue thinks it's about time to stop. Now, for those who speak English as a second (or third or fourth) language, Rainy Day is willing to cut some slack. Those who were born here, however, well not so much.

Rainy Day thinks if you don't know how to use a dictionary, learn to. Write her. She'll send some hints. Tacoma Blue says learn to use a dictionary and a thesaurus.  And, no, a thesaurus is not an extinct dinosaur.

Nor do Rainy Day or Tacoma Blue want you to think they are perfect when it comes to words. They are not. And should you ever see them misuse one, or mispronounce one, please, Gentle Reader, let them know.

Learn to treasure our language. It is a dynamic and growing organism. Words are constantly being added to our lexicon – learn to use them properly – and words are constantly being dropped – in the meantime, use the words we have. Use them correctly.  Our language changes about 20% over a couple hundred years.

Still, Tacoma Blue reminds Rainy Day, language changes and Rainy Day and you most Gentle Reader, must change with it. They and their fellow Word Snobs will always have trouble with, "Hopefully, you will too," which is a complete grammatical disaster. Hopefully means full of hope, and we should say, "I (or We) hope you will too." And let us not forget, "Over 6,000,000,000 hamburgers sold." Tacoma Blue and Rainy Day hope against hope that someone will correct it to read, "More Than 6,000,000,000 hamburgers sold."

It is easy to become a Word Snob. Tacoma Blue and Rainy day suggest an easy, fun, and painless way to begin is by signing on with the Wordsmith, Anu Garg and receive his free A.Word.A.Day newsletter.

Do you agree with Rainy Day and Tacoma blue, or are they just too old and set in there ways? Please note, neither Rainy Day nor Tacoma Blue ranted rant against texting and the (to them) unintelligible letter-number combinations therein. They know that for some, it is a separate language in which neither is conversant. Are you?

No comments:

Post a Comment