Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I'm not pretentious. I just really love words.

I never knew how bothersome my love of the English language could be to others. A friend of mine, who's kind of a math nerd, looked at me today after I pointed out a misused word and said, "and you wonder why I call you pretentious." She has, you know, on several occasions. It's because I draw attention to ads and websites and posters with misspellings, homophones used instead of the intended word, and other grammatical errors. Like a certain hotel chain that offered its executive suites with "sheik decor." I looked at the photos and saw nothing that looked like "Midnight at the Oasis." Or the website that sold a "weaved leather belt" when the correct adjective form is "woven." (weaved being the past tense of weave, as in "She weaved through traffic with the skills of Andretti.") I actually once dreamed of winning a bet on the difference between proved and proven.

I don't point these things out to be a bitch or to feel better than the rest. It's just that I can't understand sometimes how these mistakes can be made. Don't websites and such have proofreaders? If not, they really should. How can people still say "irregardless"? It doesn't even sound right. I forget that some folks might not have had educational opportunities or that English is their second language* or that they just don't care about grammar (GASP). I'm sorry if you've been bothered by me in the past. I would say I'll try to curb my behavior, but I know it would be a lie. As I read on a T-shirt once "Bad grammar makes me [sic]." **

At least I've stopped (mostly) correcting people as they speak the way I did when I was much, much younger. The neighborhood kids called me the Department of Corrections. Oh, and "pretentious" isn't really the right word. I think she meant obnoxious.

*True story--one Halloween I was at work wearing plastic candy corn earrings when my friend Nick came in and said, "Aren't you cute with your candy cones." I said, "It's candy corn, ESL student." I was joking, but turns out English really was his second language (German was his first). His accent was more Hoboken than "Hogan's Heroes" so how was I supposed to know. Although when he was really tired or had been drinking, his W's turned to V's and it was so adorable.

**Shout out to the Grammar Nerds who got that.


Annika said...

Web sites laid off all their proofreaders. (Web content and copy editing is how I made money until not so long ago.)

Ashleigh Burroughs said...

It's bad enough to hear bad grammar in "real life" but what about newscasters and sports announcers who mangle the language?? We scream at the television with alarming regularity.

woolanthropy said...

You have so gone into the wrong profession. Education is your true calling. You've got mad, mad skills.

This post had me giggling...Department of Corrections...more Hoboken than "Hogan's Heroes"...hahahahaha

Ellen Bloom said...

Correct away, Missy! There is so much horrible grammar out there that it's becoming the norm.

You shouldn't care what people think about you. You have friends! US!

Maybe you could get that English grammar teaching position at the court reporting school!

MonkeyGurrrrrl said...

We're all in it with you; I too scream at newscasters on a nightly basis. Even the Jman (who was not so skillfully educated) has learned to be amused by my rants.

That having been said, I find myself making similar errors (although, perhaps not so egregious). Which is why I'm trying to keep my big mouth shut. I haven't seen such shortcomings in you, so, CORRECT AWAY!!!

Anne-Marie said...

I'd call it pedantic. I love correcting people's mistakes. I correct typo's when I reply to emails and I change spellings on the planner at work when the admin girl gets them wrong.
It annoys me when people spell my name wrong in emails when I sent them an email with the correct spelling just minutes before. Laziness!

San Diego Momma said...


So, so, so, so!

My laser vision scans menus, billboards, emails, etc. and mentally rips the writers new ones like, every DAY.


And did I tell you about the guy who told my friend that he loved oysters because they were a real "delicatessen"?