Friday, April 30, 2010


In yoga, the instructors always remind us not to compare ourselves to the other people in the class. We shouldn't, for example, compare ourselves to the guy next to us can put his foot around his head.

And, sure, I am not going to compare myself to that guy. That would make me feel bad about myself and my hips. I am going to compare myself to the person who can’t get her heels as close to the floor as I can in downward facing dog. That way I feel better about myself.

Comparisons can be rewarding. And not just in yoga, in writing too. Sometimes instead of using adjectives, the best way to describe something is by comparing it to something else.

For example, instead of

It is extremely hot today.

I might write

Today is as hot as me in the same room as Johnny Depp, Clive Owen and Gael Garcia Bernal.

We call that comparison a simile because similes use like or as to compare. When it doesn't use like or as, it's called a metaphor.

I am a sucker for a good simile or metaphor, which my feeble attempt from above proves I cannot provide. But, there are people out there who can. One of my favorites is novelist Tom Robbins. Check out this brilliance:

Love is the ultimate outlaw. It won’t adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is sign on as an accomplice.

Louisiana in September was like an obscene phone call from nature. The air- moist, sultry, secretive, and far from fresh-felt as it were being exhaled into one’s face. Sometimes it even sounded like heavy breathing.

The only bubble in the flat champagne of February is Valentine’s Day.

She closed her eyes and tried to imagine sex entering the picture
. Would sex enter the picture in a silk robe, or would it be as nude as a platter of cold cuts?

Okay, okay, indulge me. Just one more:

The Middle Ages hang over history’s belt like a beer belly. It is too late now for aerobic dancing or cottage cheese lunches to reduce the Middle Ages. History will have to wear size 48 shorts forever.

Brilliant, right?

But, we have to be careful when using metaphors in our writing. A good metaphor requires some thought. There should be at least a moment’s pause when we try to think of that perfect comparison. If it comes too easily, we might be using a cliché.

A cliché is something that has become trite and commonplace through common use. It’s been so overdone it’s not interesting anymore. For example, it’s cliché to do a Forrest Gump impression of the name Jenny when I introduce myself. Seriously, it's been over fifteen years; let it go.

Some cliché similes would be:

Pretty as a picture
Light as a feather
As smooth as a baby's bottom.

We NEVER want to use clichés.

For example,

If we find ourselves writing

It was as easy as___.

The cliché would be to insert the word pie.


taking candy from a baby.


We want to search our brain for something that is unique.

We might, for example, write

It was as easy as Tiger Woods.

I know, I know. I already told you that I'm not good at this.

But, maybe some of you are. Let's have a simile off. How would you complete this one:

He was as slippery as______.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My Lord, My Lady

What do you think sounds better: Lady Jenny, Duchess Jenny, or Baroness Jenny? I know, I know, Countess Jenny would be ideal, but I wouldn’t want people to think I was trying to steal Countess Luann’s thunder.

I can even go fancier with viscountess or marchioness.

All I know is that life is going to be so awesome when I add a title to my name. At least that’s what this website promises. For a couple hundred bucks, they will legally add a title of my choice to my name (they will even “emblazon” my credit card with it), and I am guaranteed:

Access to the privileged world
I’ll be expecting an invitation to the ball.

An instant talking point with your friends
“I’ve known you for twenty years; since when are you a Duchess?”

• A boost to your personal confidence
Goodbye therapist!

The ability to influence people effortlessly
Give me one thousand bucks. Thanks.

There is so much power in a title. Even in our writing, titles demand special treatment. I am talking about the titles of works such as books, magazines, songs, and movies. When we include a title of a work in our writing, we have to honor it. There is, of course, a ranking order.

We must use italics for titles of big, complete works:

Titles of books: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Titles of magazines: Queen Vogue
Titles of newspapers: The Wall Street Earlnoul
Titles of plays: King Lear
Titles of films: The Princess Bride
Titles of television programs: King of the Hill
Titles of websites: Countslist
Titles of long poems: The Faerie Queen
Titles of visual art: The Lady of Shalott (the painting by Waterhouse based on the Tennyson poem. The poem would be in quotation marks, as you’ll see.)
Titles of albums: The Queen is Dead

Note: If you are handwriting, you don’t have to write at a diagonal; you can underline instead of using italics.

We must use quotation marks for titles of smaller works or portions of larger works:

Titles of magazine or newspaper articles: “Best Baroness Bikini Bodies”
Titles of book chapters: “Lord Voldemort’s Request”
Titles of short stories: “The Baron of Grogzwig”
Titles of songs: “Duke of Earl”
Titles of short poems: “My Last Duchess”

Oh, and if you don’t properly honor titles in your writing…

Off with your head!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Why Oh Why?

Last year, a company polled five thousand Brits about the things that confused them the most. They came up with a list of the top fifty things. These are my favorites:

1. What women see in Russell Brand

First of all, are women that into Russell Brand? Is he a sex symbol? I mean, he was hilarious in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and I know that Katy Perry is into him, but she also got into this outfit:

So, I'm not convinced she speaks for all women.

2. Why Cheryl Cole is still with Ashley

I’ll admit that I was excited about this one because I thought this was a lesbian scandal, but it’s not. Ashley, like in Gone with the Wind, is a dude. According to Wikipedia, Ashley’s a famous footballer who is married to Cheryl Cole, a member of the British girl band Girls Aloud. Apparently, he cheated on her with a waitress and a model, and Cheryl decided not to leave him. It’s basically the equivalent of asking why is Elin still with Tiger (if she decides not to leave him).

3. Football's offside rule

By football, I am assuming they mean soccer, and if even the Brits don’t understand the rules of their national sport, I don’t feel so stupid that I have had it explained to me a million times and I still don’t get it.

4. Donnie Darko

I now feel comfortable admitting this: the only part of the movie that didn’t go over my head was that Jake Gyllenhaal is hot.

5. Men

No explanation necessary.

And, here are some that I would like to add to the list:

1. How to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit

Or better yet, can’t we just choose one of them?

2. Why Sofia Coppola was cast in Godfather 3

Not that I'm blaming Sofia.

3. The word apart

There are two versions: a part and apart. The definition of apart is “into pieces,” “separately,” “disassembled.” So, why did we choose the version that’s together (apart) to refer to the one that means broken into pieces, separate, disassembled?

In other confusing word news, a parkway is a road where parking is not allowed, whereas a driveway is intended for parking. And herpetology is not the study of herpes.

What would you add to the list of confusing things?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Devil Wears Commas

I would like my classroom entrance to be Miranda Priestlyesque: my students waiting at attention. Kara would immediately unburden me of my handbag, and Luis would hand me my coffee. I would nonchalantly toss my coat upon Jackie’s desk, and she would scramble to hang it up for me. “Jake,” I would demand, “I want the newest edition of Us Weekly on my desk by the end of the break! Wait… what’s that you said: it’s not on the newsstands until tomorrow? Well, I must be the first to know Kim Kardashian’s secret to losing five pounds in five minutes and how Kate Gosselin will deal with her Dancing with the Stars ousting-so FIND A WAY TO MAKE IT HAPPEN!”

But, if I can’t have all that, I would be more than happy to settle on inspiring at least enough fear into my students’ hearts that they proofread their essays and try to use correct grammar and punctuation.

I do inspire the fear of proper grammar and punctuation, just in the wrong people: my friends and colleagues. My students unabashedly send me emails full of grammar and punctuation errors disputing their failing grades, while my friends and colleagues fear writing me emails because they are afraid I will judge their writing skills.

The irony is that the ones who worry about their writing skills the most are the ones who need the least improvement.

Most of us don’t know all the grammar rules; I know I don’t. And most of us make typos here and there; I know I do (which is why I make poor Emily proofread everything I write- and she’s out sick today so there may be a typo or two in this post). I’d say that most of our writing skills are equivalent to Andy’s fashion sense in the beginning of The Devil Wears Prada:

I know Miranda wouldn’t agree, but I think Andy looks pretty cute. No, I would not wear those shoes with that skirt, but I kind of dig that she’s mixing patterns with the skirt and the scarf and there’s nothing wrong with her coat. Basically, no one is going to look at her on the street, shake their head, and say, “That is one hot mess!” I mean, it’s not like she’s wearing this:

The people who should worry are those whose writing is the equivalent of Helena Bonham Carter’s outfit, the ones who don’t think grammar and punctuation matter. And they are out there. In fact, I had a real wake-up call this weekend. I was at a writing workshop and someone asked if the work presented to agents had to be grammatically correct as long as the content was good.

My initial reaction was “Duh!” But, I do understand where she was coming from… I think.

I think that her question stems from a belief that rules are creativity’s antithesis. Like if we adhere to the grammar rules, we are giving in to “The Man." The belief that real artists are focused on the creative essence rather than whether or not a comma is correctly inserted. That the meaning of the words are more important than their spelling.

But, think of it like this: writing riddled with errors is like wearing a beautiful Prada dress to a wedding. It's made of the most gorgeous silk, the silhouette perfectly frames your body, but it’s full of holes and stains. People won’t be focused on the dress’ craftsmanship; they will be wondering why you didn’t clean it up before you wore it, and the bride will be insulted. Poor grammar makes our writing (even great writing) look sloppy, and it's disrespectful to the reader.

That's all.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Maybe We Can Still Return It

When we were planning our wedding, my husband and I were hesitant to register for gifts. We thought it was presumptuous to flat out tell people what to buy for us. We ended up registering because our guests demanded it, but now I wish I could register every time we have people over for dinner. (Would it be weird to register for new front brakes?)

And, if I could go back, I would definitely register differently. It turns out that matrimony didn’t inspire in me all the things TV promised me it would. For example, my KitchenAid mixer has been collecting dust for six years because it turns out saying “I do” didn’t mean “I do want to start baking cakes.” Nor have my husband and I used our espresso maker to whip up Sunday morning lattes to sip as we peruse the morning paper on our porch because we don’t have a porch and Starbucks is down the street.

I am pretty jealous of today’s couples because now there are such cool registry options. For example, I am going to a wedding next month, and I just checked out the couple’s registry. It’s awesome- they registered for an apple tree. Another cool thing about Amazon is that couples get to prioritize their gifts; they can distinguish their must-haves from their it-would-be-nice-to-haves.

Like registries, our sentences have their must-haves and their it-would-be nice-to-haves. There are some phrases that our sentences must contain in order to convey the meaning, while there are also some phrases that are nice to include but not essential to the meaning of the sentence:

We use that to introduce the phrases we need.

We use which to introduce phrases that are non-essential to the sentence’s meaning.

Here are some examples:

Let’s register for the KitchenAid mixer that has the ergonomic handle.

The phrase has the ergonomic handle is essential. Without it, the sentence would be

Let’s register for the KitchenAid mixer.

Without the phrase, we run the risk of receiving a wrist-damaging appliance.

Because the phrase contains essential information, it must be introduced by that. When we use that, we do not use a comma.

Here’s an example of non-essential information:

The KitchenAid mixer that has the ergonomic handle, which you said you would use to bake the most delicious cakes, is still in the original packaging.

If we take out the phrase which you said you would use to bake the most delicious cakes, we are left with a sentence with complete meaning:

The KitchenAid mixer that has the ergonomic handle is still in the original packaging.

The phrase which you said you would use to bake the most delicious cakes is simply extra-information. It was just a little comment my husband wanted to add. These kinds of extra-information comments are quite common in marriage. When you use them, make sure to use commas:

Here are your missing keys, which I found stuffed in the couch again.

The dishes, which you promised to wash, are still in the sink.

And, here are some helpful tips:

• To remember that we use that for essential phrases and which for non-essential phrases, memorizing these phrases may help: I must have that and which would be nice.

• For a happy marriage, try to register for marriage counseling, a wine club membership, and cable TV.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Do You Have Sexy Grammar Confidence?

I’m an extremely introspective woman. I never stop trying to understand more about myself: I talk to my friends, I write in a diary, and I read self-help books. But, the one thing that has probably been the most instrumental in my acquisition of self-knowledge is the Cosmpolitan magazine quizzes. Just yesterday I learned whether or not I am way too good for him (turns out no), whether I am an over-sharer or mysterious (an over-sharer), and if can I keep a guy intrigued (well, intrigued is a strong word). I'm so excited; I'm just about to take the Do You Have Sexy Confidence quiz.

Confidence is so sexy, isn't it? And, what is sexier than the confidence of knowing just how to insert the apostrophe or the right spot to stick that comma? So, let's take this Cosmopolitan magazine-inspired quiz together to discover our level of sexy grammar confidence.

1. When you're in bed with a new guy how do you communicate what gets you off?
A. Moan and hope he gets it (and change the you’re to your).
B. Telepathy (and take one of the m’s out of communicate).
C. Tell him pronto (and add a comma after guy).

2. On a coed ski trip, everyones hopping into the Jacuzzi- including the chick with the jaw-dropping Halle Berry bod. You:
A. Hang by the hot tub fully-clothed (and lowercase Jacuzzi).
B. Proudly sport a string bikini (and take away the comma after trip).
C. Feel a little daunted but wear a suit you know you look good in (and add an apostrophe in everyones).

3. At a wedding, you spot a groomsman, you'd love to get to know him (screw the cake). You:
A. Freeze up (and remove the comma from after wedding)
B. Goose him on the dance floor (and remove the apostrophe from you’d).
C. Try to make eye contact with him (and change the comma after groomsman to a semi-colon).

4. Great news: your a celeb who's going to be featured in the next issue of Cosmo! In your ideal photo shoot, you'd be:
A. Wearing jeans and a sparkly tank (and change the your to you’re).
B. In a Paris Hilton style dress cut down to your belly button (and change the who’s to whose).
C. Mega-airbrushed (and take the comma away after shoot).

5. At the movies, you and your guy run into a chick he’s dated before they begin chatting. You:
A. Wait silently while they yak away (and take the comma away after movies).
B. Try to get in on the convo (and insert a period after before and cringe that you just said the word convo).
C. Shoot her an icy look, give him a big kiss, and say you'll be in the car (and add a period after the word chick).

Answer Key:

1. C
Make sure he understands your needs immediately (why waste your time?). And, don't forget the comma after guy. You've got an introductory phrase to get, I mean set, off.

2. C
You may have thought that the best way to show off your grammar prowess is to lowercase the word Jacuzzi, but Jacuzzi is actually the name of the company that makes the spas, so it must be capitalized. What you really need to do is add an apostrophe in everyone's because you, my friend, have got yourself two words that have become one. Isn't that romantic?

3. C
We may not know what it means to "goose" someone on the dance floor, but we do know that we can't put a comma between two complete sentences.

4. A
Congratulations on rejecting the dress version of this:

and for choosing the correct you're.

5. B
This is a very confusing sentence to be in. The best thing you can do to alleviate that confusion is add a period after the word before. See? Isn't that better? You no longer have a run-on sentence. And now that you're in the "convo," throw in a back-handed compliment like, "You're so much thinner than Bob said."

Congratulations! You've got sexy grammar confidence that will attract Mr. Right!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Wonder Twin Powers Activate

I was listening to the news yesterday, and the person the newscaster was interviewing said, "America as a nation needs to turn its focus to fixing the environment."

Isn't that ridiculous? Not the part about America fixing the environment, I agree with that. But, isn't it ridiculous that she said, "America as a nation..."

As opposed to what? America as a country line dancer? America as a dinner roll?

Australia may be able to get away with "Australia, as a nation..." because it's a nation and a continent (I think- don't quote me on that). But, America is a nation. That's all it is. By definition.
I have the same problem when people say or write something like

We as human beings should be more giving.

Am I missing something? Am I surrounded by beings who can sometimes act as humans and sometimes act as something else?

I would be so jealous if some people had the same powers as the Super Twins and could shapeshift.

We as human beings have a hard time fighting evil super villains, but as buckets of water and eagles, we kick ass.

I would totally take the form of Johnny Depp's pillow.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I Like Him As a Friend

Harry Burns: What I'm saying is - and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form - is that men and women can't be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.
Sally Albright: That's not true. I have a number of men friends and there is no sex involved.
Harry Burns: No you don't.
Sally Albright: Yes I do.
Harry Burns: No you don't.
Sally Albright: Yes I do.
Harry Burns: You only think you do.
Sally Albright: You say I'm having sex with these men without my knowledge?
Harry Burns: No, what I'm saying is they all WANT to have sex with you.
Sally Albright: They do not.
Harry Burns: Do too.
Sally Albright: They do not.
Harry Burns: Do too.
Sally Albright: How do you know?
Harry Burns: Because no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her.
Sally Albright: So, you're saying that a man can be friends with a woman he finds unattractive?
Harry Burns: No. You pretty much want to nail 'em too.

I don’t know if I agree with Harry Burns. I consider a lot of men to be my friends. And, I would like to think that they consider me their friend too. And, on top of that, I’d like to think that my male friends find me attractive (only because ideally everyone finds me attractive). And, hypothetically, even if all male friends do want to "nail" their female friends, as long as they keep it to themselves, I don't think it's a deal breaker. I mean, we females harbor certain fantasies about our male friends too- like they will be available to help when we move houses.

But, I'm pretty sure that most of society agrees with Harry. Every time I am hanging out with a guy friend, people assume we are a couple. The problem is when they ask something like, "How long have you two been together?" Is it me or is it kind of awkward when that happens because when I explain that we're not together, it sounds like I am saying, "Who? This guy? No way! I'd never sleep with him. I just keep him around so he'll help me when I move."

You know whom I really feel bad for? Each and other. People always assume they are together simply because they hang out in sentences together a lot. I've seen this a million times: eachother.

You guys, they are just close friends. There should be a space between them: each other. They never have and never will be together. In fact, they're sick of the constant misconception.

So are a and lot.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

It's Just Me and I

"Mirror mirror on the wall
Tell me mirror what is wrong?
Can it be my De La clothes
Or is it just my De La song?"

No, De La Soul, it’s not your clothes. If there's anyone who can pull of a splatter-painted collared shirt, it's you.

And, the song is definitely not the problem: it's one of hip hop's best.

How do I say this without hurting your feelings? It’s just that...well...okay here it is: your lyrics “It’s just me, myself, and I” aren’t 100% grammatically acceptable.

Now, don’t worry: they are 66.666666...% acceptable.

It is grammatically correct to say

It's I.

And, although it's not grammatically correct, it is becoming acceptable to say

It's me.

But, it's never correct to say

It's myself.

We only use myself when the subject of the sentence is I.

In the sentences above, the subject of the sentence is it. But, if the sentence subject is I, we can use myself for emphasis or we can use it as the object of the verb. Let's use a couple of your songs' titles to show you what I mean.

"I Can Do Anything" can become "I Myself Can Do Anything," which uses the myself to emphasize the I, meaning that I can really do anything. Or, it can become "I Can Do Anything Myself," which takes on a slightly different meaning: it means that I can do anything on my own.

"I Be Blowin'" can become "I Myself Be Blowin'," which emphasizes that I am blowin'. Or, it can become "I Be Blowin' Myself," which means...well, you know what that means. It means I am very flexible.

And, just to prove that there's nothing wrong with your De La song, here it is:


Friday, April 9, 2010

It's Always Sunny in Los Angeles

I was sitting on the floor, picking the black jellybeans out of my handful of Easter candy when my cousin said, “Hey, Jenny, do you feel an earthquake right now?” I considered her question, realized that I did feel the earth rolling under my butt and said, “I think so.” We confirmed it by noting the chandelier was swaying and back and forth.

The nonchalance with which we regarded the earthquake reminded me of that scene in L.A. Story, the fabulous 1991 Steve Martin movie that parodies L.A., in which there is a huge earthquake during lunch and nobody even flinches.

Let's see, what other L.A.isms are there in the movie? There’s a great scene where everyone loads their guns as soon as they get on the freeway. There's this awesome scene with SJP:

And, Steve Martin’s character, a weatherman, pre-tapes the weather because it is always sunny in Los Angeles- but then it rains.

Actually, we deal with the word there similarly to how Steve Martin dealt with L.A. weather. As we know, their and they’re also exist, but because there is the most common, we use it without considering the other options- but sometimes we are wrong.

So, even though there is a 75% chance of clear skies when you use there, there is also a 25% chance of storms. So, let’s review when to use their and they’re:

Their means something belongs to them:

I hope they brought their Gucci umbrellas.

The Gucci umbrellas belong to them.

A little trick to remember that their indicates possession is that their includes the word heir, and heirs inherit possessions.

They're is simply a shortened version of they are:

They're afraid to get their Gucci umbrellas wet.

In all other cases, we get to use there.

So, the moral of the story: don’t assume that because something is a certain way most of the time it’s that way all of the time.

Perhaps, if Steve Martin was more conscientious when creating his weather report, he could have protected the cats and the weenies:

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Neither and Nor's Infinite Playlist

"No Woman No Cry" Bob Marley
"Something I Can Never Have" NIN
"It's Too Late" Carole King
"You've Lost that Loving Feeling" The Righteous Brothers
"I Hate Everything About You" 3 Days Grace
"Lost Cause" Beck

See how negative neither and nor are. The music they chose for their playlist shows that are not open to any possibilities.

They have neither a woman nor a loving feeling.

Either and or’s playlist, on the other hand, shows that they are open to lots of possibilities:

"I Will Survive" Gloria Gaynor
"Eye of the Tiger" Survivor
"Beautiful Day" U2
"What a Wonderful Word" Louis Armstrong
"I Believe I Can Fly" R. Kelly
"We Will Rock You" Queen

The will either survive or rock you.

The duo either/or offers a choice between two possibilities while neither/nor negates both possibilities. And, like you will never buy a Hall and Garfunkel album or one from Simon and Oates, either sticks with or and neither sticks with nor.

But, when either and or separate, they will get a little negative if paired up with a negative verb.

Correct: I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You Either
Incorrect: I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You
Correct: I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That…or That)
Incorrect: I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That…nor That)

Pairing neither and nor with a negative verb is just too negative.

However, here is the most common error we make with either/or and neither/nor:

Either “Total Eclipse of the Heart” or “Like a Virgin” are the best karaoke songs.

It might not look wrong, but we have to remember that when we use either/or and neither/nor, we are talking about one or the other of the possibilities presented- not both. Therefore,we use a singular verb. The are should become an is and the songs should become song:

Either “Total Eclipse of the Heart” or “Like a Virgin” is the best karaoke song.

But, of course, there is an exception:

If the word closest to the verb is plural, then the verb remains plural:

Neither the candy nor the flowers are enough to win me back; I need to be serenaded with "In Your Eyes.”

But, if we switched around candy and flowers, the verb would go back to being singular because candy is singular:

Neither the flowers nor the candy is enough to win me back; I need to be serenaded with "In Your Eyes."

Okay- call me.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Breaking Up Isn't That Hard to Do

When I would first start dating someone, I would shave my legs every day, wear a cute little get-up around the house (this old thing?), and pretend I was into things such as watching baseball. My dates always seemed to also love visiting museums and buying me flowers. This would last a month or two and then my sweats would slowly make more appearances to hide my prickly legs and he would want to stay home and watch the game on a Saturday instead of check out the Renoir exhibit at LACMA. Then, disappointment and fights would ensue, and although we would still like each other, we had kind of lost ourselves in the relationship.

What I always recommend in such cases is a good old-fashioned break up. Just a short one. A break up is just dramatic enough to make you ask yourself important questions like “Should I even be here?” and “Is this me?” When you answer these questions, you can come back together in the correct way.

In the same way, we can decide who we are in a sentence with someone else. Are we me or are we I? For example, in the following sentence, should I put an I or a me in the blank?

Jack and ____ love the Dodgers.

The easiest way to decide whether to use I or me, is to temporarily break up with the other person in the sentence. Mentally cross out the other person’s name and the and. Then, read the sentence with I and me to see which sounds correct.

First, we cross out Jack and.

____ love the Dodgers.

Then, we fill in the blank with I and me to see which one sounds correct.

I love the Dodgers. vs. Me love the Dodgers.

We realize that we are no longer cavemen, and therefore, would never say

Me love the Dodgers.

So, the correct sentence is

Jack and I love the Dodgers.

But, here’s where it gets tricky:

I found out that Jack gave his phone number to Jane and ____ the first night we met.

First, we cross out Jane and.

I found out that Jack gave his phone number to ____ the first night we met.

Then, we fill in the blank with I and me to see which one sounds correct.

Jack gave his phone number to me. vs. Jack gave his phone number to I.

In this case, we would use me, so the sentence is

I found out that Jack gave his phone number to Jane and me the first night we met.

On the one hand, Jack and I hadn't started dating yet. On the other hand, it was kind of a sleazy move and the World Series was coming up, which I didn't know if I could handle. So, I decided that Jane could have him. Plus, Dick and Jane has such a nice ring to it. I mean, Jack and Jane. Freudian slip.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Better Than Nothing

If you’re not going to do it right, don’t do it at all.

Those are words I definitely do not live by.

When I vacuum, I don’t move couches. I rarely leave the conditioner in my hair for the prescribed time. I don’t chew my food thirty-two times.

But, you know, I do clean the house, wash my hair and eat, so I think it’s better than nothing.

Better than nothing, that’s my philosophy.

Well, another thing that most of us don’t do right is respond to statements like this:

Drinking one glass of red wine a night is supposedly good for the heart, but I never do.

If we didn’t drink one glass of red wine a night either, the right response would be

Nor do I.

But, we rarely speak so formally. My response, for example, would be

Me neither; I usually drink three.

The question that has come up is whether we say me neither or me either.

Well, both are technically wrong, but if you feel too formal writing nor do I, then me neither is the lesser of the two evils.

Speaking of the lesser of two evils, that’s another philosophy I live by:

At least I didn’t buy two pairs of new shoes.
I ate the smaller piece of cheesecake.
I could have worn low cut and short.