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Grammar Geek Moments

raebates

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Dec 6, 2005
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I am an admitted Grammar Geek. I love words and do my best to use them properly. I don't correct others' wording unless asked. (Well, I will if you're my husband or son, but that only applies to two people on the planet.)I don't make fun of people who aren't as grammar-obsessed unless they are professional speakers (newscasters, reporters, etc.). They should know better.

Today a friend was gushing on Facebook about the Brad Paisley concert she went to with her daughters. She said that Brad Paisley "has never failed to disappoint at a live show!" I know what she meant. She meant he's never disappointed or never failed to please. I wouldn't think of correcting her. But, it made me literally LOL!

Several weeks ago I was driving along and listening to public radio. They were interviewing a young man who had done a documentary on WWII vets. He spoke about scene being "one of the most poignant moments in the film." Nothing wrong with that, except he pronounced the g in poignant. I was laughing so hard I had trouble seeing the road. Clearly he had read the word and knew what it meant but had never heard it pronounced in context. This is one of my greatest fears. I read a lot. When I find an unfamiliar word I look up the pronunciation.

Thanks for giving me a safe place to share my geeky moments.
 

jpanzenhagen

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Feb 18, 2013
69
1
I can totally relate to what you are saying. I have been known to intentionally make grammatical errors just to drive my Grammar Police friends wonky.
 

The_Kitchen_Guy

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Nov 4, 2005
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…He spoke about scene being "one of the most poignant moments in the film." Nothing wrong with that, except he pronounced the g in poignant.

That's pretty dumb, or as he might say, "Dum-ba."

It's a little like our fearless leader reading off the Teleprompter® and telling us about corpsmen - pronouncing it phonetically. I'm not sure, if I were wounded, that I would want a corpse man coming to my aid.

Remember his Memorial Day speech, when he talked about those we came to honor - "…some of whom I see here today…" Really? He sees dead people? That's pretty talented.

You'd love it up here when a shiny new rip 'n' read newscaster goes on the air for the first time. Out-of-towners are pretty entertaining when they start telling us about events in Manitowoc, Waukesha, Mukwonago or my favorite, Oconomowoc. They also massacre street names, like Teutonia ("Tie-TONE-ya") Burleigh (BUR-lie, with a long "I" sound) or Kinnickinnic Avenue. (Pretty much the way it appears, but they over think it and massacre it.)

there_theyre_their.jpg
 

raebates

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Dec 6, 2005
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  • #4
I still chuckle when I think about it, KG.

I'm sure first-time newscasters butcher names wherever they are. We have some strange ones here in Indiana. Though, from my experience the newscasters (even seasoned ones) are more likely to make grammatical errors than pronunciation errors. I’m almost convinced that flunking a basic grammar test is a prerequisite for typing the news into the teleprompter. After all, those reading the news are only as good as their teleprompter preppers. And, don’t get me started on our local newspaper. Clearly they no longer employ proofreaders.
 

The_Kitchen_Guy

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Nov 4, 2005
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Another one that drives me nuts is sports reporters and players. I can sometimes give a break to baseballers, because many of them get into ball right after high school. But footballers and basketballers are supposedly college educated and should know better. Baseball managers and executives, at their age, should know better, too.

"He played good today," the manager says. "No, he didn't play good," I tell the television screen, "He played well."

Good is an adjective.
Well is an adverb.

Therefore, the ball player played well, he may have had a good glove or a good bat, maybe he even had a good lunch but he didn't play good. That misuse just drives me batty!

I admire someone who is well spoken. Someone who is good spoken, not so much.
 

ChefPeg

Advanced Member
Gold Member
Mar 23, 2012
559
7
You know what gets me? Consultants that type costumer for customer, anybody on FB who types your instead of you're, and many many others!
I work in a TV newsroom and while flunking basic grammar isn't a pre-requisite, the basics should be known. I occasionally produce a newscast and have gotten after reporters for poor grammar.
On the whole, though, I think what's happening is less focus on spelling and grammar, and more "as long as the message gets across."
What's this hand-basket and where are we going?
 

The_Kitchen_Guy

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Nov 4, 2005
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I'm subscribed to a daily email called Daily Writing Tips (Rae is, too) and today's topic is another pet peeve - using apostrophes to construct plurals. I'm guilty of it sometimes, too, although usually by accident.

I wish that I could state the rule that one must never ever use an apostrophe to form a plural. All I can say is that one must almost never ever do so. Certainly, an apostrophe is never used to form the plural of an ordinary noun.

I see that misuse all too often, and I used to argue with an editor about the plural of numbers, such as decades. 1930s or 1930's?

I always wrote 1920s and he'd change it to 1920's and I would argue that I was correct. Today's tip agrees with me. Yay!

The only place, that I know of anyway, is to pluralize letters: my brother always got A's in school. (I didn't.)

The car club newsletter editor often used apostrophes to make plurals because she thought they were cute. Argh! She also had trouble with plurals of Model A's and Model T's so I suggested she just say Model T Fords. I say Model A's.

Now if we could just straighten out possessives and possessive plurals…
 

The_Kitchen_Guy

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Nov 4, 2005
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Peg, you hit another pet peeve, or a source of giggles, depending on the circumstance. Homophones are a source of amusement as puns or a source of annoyance in misuse. It's easy to do:

There, they're, their.
Two, too, to.
Who, whom.
Eye, aye, I

Autocorrect drives me nuts, too. The past plural of "was" is "were" but my #%**! autocorrect changes it to "we're" and it's like a little argument with Siri.

Which leads me to another common error, the contraction for "it is" (it's) and the possessive of the pronoun, "it" which is "its" which autocorrect changes to "it's" without asking me. Another argument with Siri!

Rant Mode OFF.
 

ChefPeg

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Mar 23, 2012
559
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...
Which leads me to another common error, the contraction for "it is" (it's) and the possessive of the pronoun, "it" which is "its" which autocorrect changes to "it's" without asking me. Another argument with Siri!

Rant Mode OFF. ��

I had an argument with a teacher, of all people who should know, about it's/its. I can't remember the exact wording, but it was along the lines of "I put the apple in its place." She insisted it was supposed to be it's because that was the possessive form, like when you put 's after a proper name, like Kelley's book. Even others around us agreed with me. It all ended with her saying she'd have to look it up.
 

The_Kitchen_Guy

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Nov 4, 2005
12,459
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  • #10
I can totally relate to what you are saying. I have been known to intentionally make grammatical errors just to drive my Grammar Police friends wonky.

My mother was a secretary to an executive at a manufacturer of a common home appliance (you probably have one in your kitchen) and we used to have very interesting discussions about English oddities and proper usage. Her pet peeve was sentences ending in prepositions. The "never end a sentence in a preposition" rule is mythical, left over from Latin. It is not a rule of English, by any means but it was a rule as far as she was concerned.

I used to end sentences with prepositions just to yank her chain, and when she complained, I'd innocently ask her, "Then, how would YOU say it?" and let her wrestle with the sentence's construction so it didn't sound stuffy or pretentious.

It's said that someone tried to reprimand Winston Churchill for ending a sentence in a preposition, to which he replied, "A situation up with which I will not put!" It's an apocryphal story and most likely never occurred, but it's still a funny line.

Actually, it sounds more like something Mark Twain might have said. It's funny how such a misconception has carried on for so long.
 

AJPratt

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Oct 11, 2005
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  • #11
This is my favorite thread...
 

The_Kitchen_Guy

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Silver Member
Nov 4, 2005
12,459
79
  • #13
Why is it…that certain words and phrases are seldom pronounced correctly?

For example, the word, "hundred."

Today, I've heard at least four people, so far, say the word as if it were spelled, "hundert."

We have a highway that circles Milwaukee to the west, it was the official bypass before the freeways were built. The highway is State Highway 100, which should be pronounced, "State Highway one hundred."

The state highway phrase usually gets dropped, as does the "one" preceding the number, so it gets called, "Highway one hundert" or just, "Highway hundert."

ARRGHHH!!!

While we're at it, there is no "and" in cardinal numbers except as a decimal point.

For example, 123 is often mis-stated as "one hundert and twenty three" where the correct pronunciation should be, "One hundred twenty three." No "and" in the pronunciation!

If it is $123.75, it is correctly pronounced, "One hundred twenty three dollars and seventy five cents." The "and" represents the decimal point.

Why is that so difficult?
 

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