Monday, September 24, 2012

I'm Worshiped at Westerburg and I'm Only a Junior.

I don’t want to name names because my high school reunion is coming up next year and I am sure every single person from the Canyon High School class of '93 reads this blog and I don’t want trouble, but SOMEONE I went to high school with once proclaimed in anguish, “It’s SO HARD being popular!”

Boo hoo, right? That’s like Charlize Theron saying, “It totally sucks being genetically perfect” or Jennifer Westfeldt lamenting, “Why do I have to be the one who sleeps with Jon Hamm!”

But, being the hypocrite that I am, I found myself doing something similar this weekend. I was penning an email to a publication in hopes of getting an interview, and I whined to myself, “It sucks having to be grammatically correct all the time!” 

I felt like an asshole for thinking complaining thoughts because without grammar I wouldn’t have a book. But I am terrified that one slip up with the wrong “there” and I am written off as a fraud forever—which, I know, I should be. 

But that got me thinking: not all grammatical errors are equal, are they? I, for example, cringe when people write “could of” instead of “could’ve,” but I am totally okay with people using “who” when they should be using “whom.”

What are your grammar deal breakers, and which errors do you let slide?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Save the Date

I know a lot of you live outside of the state or even out of the country, so I thought I would tell you now so you have ample time to request time off work, get pet sitters, buy a new outfit, and order your gluten-free meal for your flight. I am having my first book signing at my local bookstore, Apostrophe Books, on October 14 from 11:30-1:30.

Isn’t it serendipitous that my first book signing is at a bookstore named after a punctuation mark? And not just any punctuation mark: one of the most troubling punctuation marks. As evidence, I present to you an apostrophe mistake I found in my hood:

This is one of the most common mistakes people make with the apostrophe: they use it when a word ends in S simply to show there is more than one (AKA plural), which does not require an apostrophe: 

Reggae Sundays are aire, mon.

·         We added an S to the end of Sunday because we are talking about more than one Sunday.

·         Nothing actually belongs to the Sunday = no apostrophe

Apostrophes are only required when a word ends in S to show possession. If a singular word is possessive, it gets both an S and an apostrophe: 

This Reggae Sunday’s vibe was aire, mon.

·         We are only referring to one particular Reggae Sunday = singular

·         The vibe belongs to Reggae Sunday = possessive = apostrophe

However, what if we want to refer to the vibe of more than one Reggae Sunday? Well, we simply add the apostrophe after the S. 

The last four Reggae Sundays’ vibes have been aire, mon.

·         We are referring to four Reggae Sundays = plural

·         The vibe belongs to all of those Reggae Sundays = possessive = apostrophe

It just occurred to me that my book signing is on a Sunday, so this Reggae Sunday is my direct competition. In order to compete, I will be performing “No Colon No Cry” and “I Shot the Sheriff, but I Didn’t Use the Apostrophe." 

(If anyone is local, here is the address for Apostrophe Books. It would be so great to actually meet some of you: 4712 E. 2nd Street, Long Beach, CA 90803.)

(That didn't come out right. It would be great to meet ALL of you, but some of you may have a hair appointment that day.)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Grammar Is Important Because ...

It gives the writer/speaker credibility. Without it, they are just incredible. No … wait …that doesn’t sound right.

This is the winning answer to my Why Grammar Is Important Contest, which was provided by the writer of the Felt Family blog.

Her answer is not only hilarious; it’s also inspiring, which, by her logic, means without one of these:

It follows, then, that invent means to be upset about something but hold it in.

Inverse means lack of poetry.

Intense means mellow.

And intreats is the house you don’t want to visit on Halloween.

Also, I have a guest post over at World Weaver Press that discusses the difference between good writing and grammatically correct writing--and where the twain meet. 

What's your definition of good writing?