Thursday, July 25, 2013

Mr. Bo Dangles

“Excuse me, Sir. I believe your participle is dangling.”

“That can’t be mine. Having written for years, my participles always stand erect.”

“Your participles have written for years?”

“No, I have written for years.”

“Then, I am afraid you just dangled another participle.”

“Claiming to be such an expert, I would like you to prove it to me.”

“So you’re saying that you claim to be an expert?”

“No, I am saying that you claim to be an expert.”

“Oy vey! You dangled your participle yet again! The ing phrases (i.e., participle phrases) at the beginning of your sentences (Having written for years and Claiming to be such an expert) should describe the actions performed by the subjects of the sentences (participles and I). Since they don’t, they are considered dangling participles, and, therefore, grammatically incorrect.”

“Thank you so much. Having learned so much from you regarding dangling participles, I was wondering if you could help fix my other dangling problem.”

Here you go …

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Most Interesting Man in the World

Last weekend, we were at a bar listening to music and this man and his lady friend asked if they could join our table. Within five minutes, the man shared the following facts about himself:

He is a professional tennis player.
He has the best serve.
He is a professional skateboarder.
He’s really good at pool.
He worked as a stockbroker on Wall Street and made millions.
He makes $20,000 a month at his new job.
He purchased a $100 t-shirt earlier that day.
He wears mostly Gucci.
He’s moving into a new, expensive apartment complex.

I was just thinking how lucky I was to have met the most interesting man in the world when he started to say things that called his integrity into question. 

He told me that he was six feet tall. The thing is that I was there. I could see him. He was standing inches from me. And unless I unwittingly experienced a growth spurt myself, he was at most 5’10”.

He also said to me, “I speak four languages perfect.” 

Well, maybe he does, but English certainly isn’t one of them. 

If he spoke perfect English, he would have said, “I speak four languages perfectly.”

He used an adjective when he should have used an adverb.  Adjectives modify nouns and pronouns; adverbs modify verbs. (Adverbs modify other things too, but it’s a long story and I’m still recovering from the bar.) 

Because he was describing the verb speak, not the noun languages, he should have used an adverb.

And if I know anything about the most interesting man in the world it’s this: he doesn’t always modify his verbs, but when he does, he uses adverbs.