Monday, April 24, 2006

This is What Happens When Your Grandmother is an English Professor...

I never particularly liked English. And when I say English, I mean the subject in school and not the entire language (though they are quite connected). Maybe that confusion is why they've started calling it Language Arts now, but I digress. Back to not liking English...Once I got to the junior high level, English and tears seemed to naturally go together. Trying to get a 12-year old to write a poem containing onomatopoeia or personification? On a deadline? Come on! Maybe it's just my perfectionist tendencies that gave me such a hard time...

Oh, it got better after a while. I even had fun doing some creative English projects (puppet shows!), but English was never my favorite subject. That is a bit odd because I looove to read; I just didn't necessarily love to read what my English teachers told me I should:P I think my math/logical brain just rebelled. I'm more of a "Say what you mean or don't say it at all" person. But I made it through both high school and college and learned to see what might (or might not) be between the lines.

But what does all that have to do with my grandmother, the English Professor? I remember my dad correcting my English when I spoke to her on the phone as a kid (say "Yes" and not "Yeah"). And I was always worried about my grammar when I wrote letters to her (still am!) And now I find that reading incorrect English (when I notice it) is like nails on a chalkboard. It didn't bother me so much in the past as far as I can recall. And it's not like I'm some master of the English language (I make more than my fair share of mistakes). We're all human and prone to making mistakes, right? But the ones I notice just make me grind my teeth.

So what are the things that bug me most? The one I notice most often is when people use "your" when they really should use the contraction "you're." For example, when people say "Your my best friend" when what they really mean is "You are my best friend" or, using the contraction, "You're my best friend." The other big one is when people say "then" when they mean "than."
For example the sentence:
I have more apples then Nicole.
should be:
I have more apples than Nicole.

I have other language pet peeves, but these are my top two currently. And I'm sure I misuse things that bug others! My dad's big hot button is the word shrimp which is both singular and plural, yet you still hear people asking how many shrimpS you want:P My mom's is using I when you should us me and vice versa. And as for my sister, well... She once worked as an administrative assistant to an executive director, so she would edit letters and such. Her boss didn't have grammar issues so much as she made up and/or misspelled words like:
bidness envelote (instead of business envelope)
asterfick (instead of asterisk)
margarine (instead of margin)

So do you have any language pet peeves? Maybe I'll learn to correct something I'm doing wrong!

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