Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Day Is Nigh

The day when dangling participles stand erect, when subjects and verbs agree, when Americans conjugate all night long. 

Yes, National Grammar Day, celebrated on March 4, will be here in a few short days.

In honor of this glorious holiday, I will be spreading the grammar cheer by giving away five copies of my book on Goodreads. The winners will be chosen on March 4. Here’s the link. Sign up. NOW! 

Sorry ... I just got a little excited. 

How are you going to celebrate National Grammar Day? 

I was thinking about drinking COMMApolitans with friends and cruising the town for some cute singular nouns (not nouns that are too proper, though).

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I Didn't Do It

The other day, a friend told me that he feels bad complaining to me because I never complain. 

And that’s not the first time I’ve heard that complaint from a friend.

Of course, I do complain sometimes, but I have to admit that I am one of those annoyingly optimistic people. I tend to believe that everything works out, that everything happens for a reason, that we are lucky because other people have it worse, blah blah blah. Basically, I’m like the least satisfying person to vent to because I am always trying to make you see the silver lining or help you fix the situation when all you really want to do is bitch.

Because of my annoying optimism, I tend to believe that everyone’s problems are solvable. When someone tells me about a problem they are having, my immediate reaction is to want to try to fix it. You hate your job; let me search all night and find you a new one. You’re unsatisfied with your weight; I’ll wake up extra early and go running with you. You are having a fight with your boyfriend; let’s all three sit down and talk about it. You’re having problems in the bedroom; let’s have a threesome and I’ll give you feedback. 

I KNOW that’s not healthy behavior; I know it’s called co-dependence. 

This desire to fix everyone’s problems should make it hard for me to use sic. We use sic when we include quoted material in our writing and the quoted material contains grammar, spelling or punctuation errors. The sic basically tells the reader that the error is not ours; it’s the other person’s. 

If I were to include the following quote from my student’s essay in my own writing, this is how I would use sic:

“I use [sic] to have to wear my sisters [sic] hammy [sic] downs.”

Here’s another example using an email: 

“i [sic] am in your english [sic] class on monday [sic]. I am attaching the HW [sic] due tomorrow. Hopefully you can except [sic] it this way,[sic] if not i [sic] will also bring in a hard copy.”

You’d think I’d want to just fix their errors for them instead of calling them out. But I don’t. Grammar is where I draw the line. I want to shame my students into using proper grammar.

That’s healthier behavior, right?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Why I Can Have Any Valentine I Want

I’ve never had a cavity, and I never dangle my participles.

According to a recent survey of over five thousand people, “When judging a potential date, both men and women rate teeth at the top, followed by grammar.”

So, Jake, pick me up tonight at 8. 

Is grammar at the top of your list when judging a potential date?


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Why I Drink

These are emails I received from my students this week: 

·        *  i pluged in my usb flsh drive and i opened the file for the
homewrk and i can't belive i repeated a question. could i turn the rght one in?

(You don’t need to conserve letters. Letters are not on the endangered species list.)

·        *  i can't make it to your class today. please email me today’s class notes. 

(Sure, let me just quickly type up notes from a three-hour class. And what’s your home address? I’ll hand deliver them.)   

·         * is 12 okay?

(Is 12 what okay? I have 80 students. A little context would be appreciated.)


Oh no! I’m getting bitter.