Posted October 11, 2009 10:31 pm - Updated October 12, 2009 09:09 am

Call the (Grammar) Police!!

There will be those who will look at this title and turn their attention quickly to recipes or sports statistics. Someone’s going to say I’m too picky.  Some will use the cliché, “You have too much time on your hands.”  But along with today’s acceptance of poor taste in clothing and behavior is that of incorrect punctuation and grammar, whether written or spoken.

Here is a teeth-grinder:  “The man gave a ticket to her and I.”   Look, he would give one to her, but no way would you say he gave one “to I.”  He gave one to her and he gave one to me.  TO her and TO me.   “I” is out of the question!  Likewise, you would not say “Me and him (or him and me) went fishing.”  Chop that sentence up.  You would NEVER say “Me went fishing” or “Him went fishing!”  Now, I just know you wouldn’t say that.  Would you?  Nah.   I went and he went. 

Anyways – there is no such word other than what dictionaries call “dialect - nonstandard,” just as it does for the word, “ain’t.”   It certainly does not qualify as an introduction to a thought such as, “ANYWAYS, I didn’t want to go.”  A forum I once visited said, “The word "anyways" is found in some dialects in the United States, but it is not standard English, and it should never be used in any situation where you want to be considered reasonably well educated.”  But then there are those who don’t want to seem reasonably well-educated, so for them “anyways” is okay.  It is not nor ever has been a part of the southern dialect that I can recall except when it was introduced by TV and movies. 

How much is “alot?”  It must not be much, as my Spell Check immediately corrected my efforts to put those two words together.  Somewhere along the way, perhaps twenty years ago, students began combining “a” and “lot” to make one word.  “I like him alot.  It has been used in high school research papers along with b/c for “because” and w/o for “without.”  It is amazing how careless (meaning “couldn’t care less”) and apathetic students have become and for what reasons. 

Apostrophes don’t show Possession!  The word means something belongs to something or someone.  Someone needs to make up a game in which participants try to make the longest list of the misuse of apostrophes.  Take “it’s” – that’s with an apostrophe, That word can only be used if you mean, “It is.”  It does not possess anything here, It just IS.  If it does possess something, then it is “its.”  I remember a long-time bait shop on a busy Conway street.  It had a large sign on the front that stayed very visible to visitors for many years. It proclaimed “minnow’s!” and “worm’s!” and “cricket’s!”  As a youngster firmly and surely taught English by the incomparable Miss Eloise Rhode, I knew even then that those critters never possessed anything but perhaps a short life ending on a hook.

 Plural.  It means more than one thing.  One does not use an apostrophe to make a plural!  A friend says, “I saw a sign at a business a few weeks ago that said "Come in and see our new package's." Someone wasted ink putting that apostrophe in there.  Again, only those who didn’t learn in school do this.  I can see an error in a garage sale sign done in Magic Marker, but from a professional sign maker?  Perhaps not as much time is able to be spent in school on grammar, punctuation, conjugation of verbs, sentence modes, etc. because of the pressures of standardized testing.  My friend says, “This misuse and ignorance of how to use our very own language has made its way into college classrooms!

Some more pet peeves? 

·         “Has went” instead of “has gone.” 

·         “We have ate” instead of “have eaten.”

·         A recent one is “Are you done yet?”  ‘Tis another thing coming in from ‘way out somewhere north, east, south or west of Conway via TV and movies and population influx as I never heard this used by the general population in this vicinity until the last 5 years.  Conway schools and colleges taught the more accepted “finished” or “through.” 

·         Adding a “th” at the end of “height.”  Just say “hite.”

·         Using “ideal” instead of “idea.”  Ideal means perfect.  Idea is a thought!

·         This last one must be tough to learn.  At no time will you ever find someone “laying in the street” or “paper laying on the ground.”  Those two things will be lying in the street and on the ground every time.  Now, a hen and her egg is another story, but you’ll have to ask her about that.

Irritating usages?  Here’s just one:  The used car TV ad delivered by the company owner who shouts, “WE’VE GOT CARS!  WE’VE GOT TRUCKS!  WE’VE GOT SUV’S!  as if listeners are deaf and would expect them to be selling anything else (not to mention that “have” and “got” don’t go well together)!  A simple statement of “We have cars, trucks, and SUV’s,” (still not a surprise at an auto company) will do.  I won’t get into local merchants making their own TV pitches and pronouncing “you” as “yew.”    No, I won’t do that.