Grammar Is Your Friend

We all have our pet peeves, don’t we?

In an irritating society there are plenty of irritating habits that make your skin crawl and your patience disappear. People chewing with their mouth open, snorting, sniffing, coughing, talking, squeaking…I can go on and on. It just depends upon your tolerance level.

But there is something lately that grinds me even more than all those body noises.

Bad Grammar.

Perhaps it’s because I’m a writer/proofreader/editor it grinds me a bit more than you.  But I can’t help but wonder what ever happened to teaching correct grammar — spelling and speaking.

With auto-correct and word anticipation on every computer on the planet, you would think the correct words would just appear. But even auto-correct can’t help with the wrong choice of words. Auto-correct can’t help those who guess at the wrong word or the wrong version of a word.

Grammar isn’t rocket science.  It’s common sense. Something that many people lack.

It’s one thing if you type the wrong word. In my haste to get something written, at work and at home, I have picked the wrong form/spelling/tense. Almost always I catch my mistakes in proofreading. But I’ve come across some people — professional people — who consistently misspell, misrepresent, and actually mangle the English language. And often these are higher-ups — vice presidents, executives — people who should know better.

Today a “sponsored” post on my FB account called Grammarly said, “Sick of making grammatical and spelling mistakes? Perfect writing is a click away!” So now there’s another automatic corrector out to help make sense of your nonsense.

I know I sound like an old lady, but at least I am a grammatically correct old lady. They aren’t teaching cursive in schools these days — but have they given up on grammar too? I hear a lot of lazy English these days — hip language, slurred consonants, half words. I suppose most of that is on purpose. Whether that will get the speaker far in today’s working world only time will tell.

But lazy writing will be the death knell.

I know English is one of the most confusing languages around. I mean, how many ways can you spell where? Wear? Ware? But in today’s world that’s not an excuse. When I see a professional letter start out “Goof Morning,” I have issues. It’s one thing to text “you are my breast friend” instead of “you are my best friend,” but not in an letter to the president.

Not everybody is a writing scholar. I know I’m not. But I’ve practiced. I’ve learned. You owe it to yourself to take your time and reread what you write.

After all, not everyone is Rocket Raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy. Not everyone is cute and furry and can get away with saying, “Well he don’t know talkin’ good like me and you, so his vocabulistics is limited to ‘I’ and ‘am’ and ‘Groot,’ exclusively in that order.”

 

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When is a Cherry not a Cherry?

cherryLike an artist loving colors, like a potter loving texture, I love words. I love the written word, the spoken word. I love the English language in all its curly q’s and static punctuation marks. I love reading, I love creative conversations, and, as you know, I love writing.

I’m also such a child when it comes to words.

Take today. I’m entering catalog copy onto the website, and the product is hoes. I chuckle as I type. I wouldn’t have chuckled 15 years ago, but the world of English has changed since I was a young tart. One of my favorite movies is Fred Astaire in The Gay Divorcee. More giggles. Pussy used to mean cat. Cock was a male rooster. Chuckle chuckle. A shaft was a vertical opening or passage through the floors of a building. Jugs held moonshine or water. Laughing with me yet? Now I find myself avoiding those words just because of today’s connotations.

The same is true with reading and writing sex scenes. Now, I’m not a puritan. Through the years I’ve had my share of “love on the picnic bench” or “kitchen table bumps.”  But as I get older the words just don’t stimulate like they used to. There are lots of books out today where women are ravished and men are studding and the language is as red as bing cherries. I mean, how many erotic positions and sounds can there be? I’m not a prude either. Healthy libidos are what keep us young. So how do you balance sex and love and lust in your blockbuster novel without being embarrassed about every other word?

One way is to write sex scenes that explode without saying one dirty word.

Ever try saying something without saying something? Now, that’s a challenge! Funny thing is, I enjoyed the challenge. Try out this passage from my latest creation:

His sensuality devoured me, sparking a hunger I never knew I had. I was not a virgin, but I might as well have been, as I surrendered to his caresses and his demands. Falling on the feathered bed, his hands found every curve, every fullness of my body, sending electrical currents through me. Currents I almost could not stand. His mouth followed his hands, and I found myself following his lead, my needs exploding into sounds and screams of pure pleasure. When he took me it was if a monster roared above me. Guttural, wild, transcending this plane to another and another. I matched his transcendence, spiraling out of control, the heat from our stones exploding inside of us, inside of each other.

Not one male chicken, not one kitty cat.  Not one moonshine container or vertical passage in a  building. Normal “words” like hands and mouths and explosions, but nothing is ever really said. Just implied.

I suppose for most it’s a pretty boring passage. The point of using variations of cats and roosters is to get that extra blush that words like kisses and hugs can’t bring. It’s like using swear words when you’re a little kid. You’re not supposed to say them, but every time you do you get that little thrill of being naughty. And that’s the power of words. One word can launch a thousand dreams, a thousand nightmares. That — is power.

I must admit I do miss some of the old-fashioned words, though. I personally miss — and use — the cat’s meow, groovy, the cat’s pajamas, jive, holy mackerel. I’m not going to stop watching The Gay Divorcee or Leave it to Beaver just because slang has twisted the words around.

But that’s not going to stop me from giggling every time I type the color buff or cherry.