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I’m Hungry! The Proper Use of Exclamations

9 Mar

Are you hungry too? I can’t give you any food but I can give you some chicken dinner. Check out my friend’s blog for a serving of chckndnnr! It’s so informative! It will make you laugh! I enjoy reading the posts and I think you will too! No, I know you will enjoy it! Well, not quite.

Don’t get me wrong—you’ll enjoy reading my friend’s blog, but I didn’t correctly punctuate that paragraph. Exclamations are supposed to be used only with exclamations or commands—for example, “What a great blog!” or “Read the blog!” The use of exclamations only to emphasize a particular sentence is incorrect.

Seinfeld fans may be disappointed to learn that Elaine was wrong in “The Sniffling Accountant” (Episode 5-04) Check out the video below! (Note my proper use of exclamation.)

Her editor, Mr. Lippman, had the right idea about exclamations.

Who and Whom: The New You’re and Your

7 Jan

Thanks to contributions from grammaticians, we have made significant progress in the cure for knowing when to use your and you’re. I feel the need to raise awareness about a different grammar disease: who and whom wrongful interchangeability. This highly infectious disease is caused from not paying attention in fifth grade English class. Its worst symptom is the inability to distinguish between subjects and objects of clauses. The incubation period for this disease is very short—as soon as you contract it, you will present symptoms of this disorder. Do you have this disease? Here are a few warning signs of this disease:

If you think the usage of who is correct in the following sentences, you may want to contact your family grammatician:

  • Who am I talking to?
  • Who can we trust?
  • I don’t know who he invited.

However, you can protect yourself and your loved ones from this gruesome disease if you educate yourself.

When using who, you are referring to the subject of a clause. When using whom, you are referring to the object of a clause. The subject is the doer; the object is the receiver. Mixing up the pronouns who and whom is like using she for her—it just doesn’t make sense. No one would think to say “He loves she.” That’s because “He loves her” not only sounds right, but is right. Its not “me want cake” its “I want cake.” She and I are subjects, while her and me are objects. Using who as an object (He loves who?) is just like saying “He loves she.” They’re both wrong, but most people don’t notice that who is used incorrectly. When in doubt of choosing who or whom, think if whether she or her would work in the sentence. Replace all she’s with who’s and all her’s with whom’s.

It is a pandemic, but it doesn’t have to be. Continue to educate yourself on this dreadful disease and stay tuned for more grammar posts on my blog!

Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.

5 Dec

I have been struggling to come up with another idea for a post, I think I’ll post about punctuation. AGH! I just committed the eighth mortal sin. There’s lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, pride, and comma splices.

A comma splice is the use of a comma in between two independent clauses. Independent clauses, by definition, are clauses that can stand alone as a sentence. Why is using comma between two independent clauses so grievous? Comma splices are the grand daddy of all punctuation sins because literally any other form of punctation would work except for a comma. Take a look (WARNING: explicit grammar error may be unsuitable for children).

Comma Splice:  These pretzels are making me thirsty, I will get some water.

^Here are two independent clauses joined by a comma. (Seinfeld fans will appreciate the first clause.) These two clauses, in order to be effectively separated, need to be separated by some form of stop punctuation. Essentially any other form of punctuation, even a dash(—), would work.

These pretzels are making me thirsty; I will get some water.

These pretzels are making me thirsty: I will get some water.

These pretzels are making me thirsty. I will get some water.

These pretzels are making me thirsty! I will get some water.

These pretzels are making me thirsty—I will get some water.

Choosing which punctuation to change it to is completely up to you. Based on the context of the two clauses, you can pick whichever one most effectively creates the relationship between the clauses that you desire. Of course, you can add a coordinating conjunction. There’s no fun in explaining those since they don’t tie in too well with my sinning joke I’ve got going on. Perhaps we’ll save those for a later post. In the meantime, for your penance of committing comma splices, say ten Hail Marys and look for more grammar posts on my blog!

Willie teaches me to lay v. to lie

3 Nov

There are a few things that no matter how many times you tell me, I will never absorb the information: how old my dad is, daylight savings (spring ahead; fall back—what is that?), and lastly, the tenses of to lie v. to lay. Willie has inspired me to take care of that last one. He said he’ll help me figure out a way to remember the tenses. Let’s see if this works!

To Lie—to rest or recline

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Simple Present: Willie lies on the couch now.

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Simple Past: Willie lay in the shade yesterday.

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Past Participle: Willie should have lain under the bed because he thought it was comfortable.

To Lay—to put something down

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Simple Present: Willie lays his lobster toy down.

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Simple Past: I laid Willie down on his back.

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Past Participle: Willie stood next to his red, stuffed toy which he had laid there only moments before.

I think Willie was on to something. I definitely remember the differences better now! Thank you WIllie, I’ll give you a treat 🙂

You Know You’re An English Major When…

2 Sep

You know you’re an English major when you find yourself contemplating which part of speech is your favorite.  After minor deliberation, I have decided that adverbs are my favorite part of speech. Nothing changes a sentence like an adverb does. For real—look at the following sentences:

1) He drove to work. V. He drove recklessly to work

2) I stared at the boy. V. I stared longingly at the boy.

3) I placed the cup on the table. V. I daintily placed the cup on the table.

Adverbs make the sentence more dynamic. Hearing or reading a simple sentence is like looking through a dirty lens—you can make out what you’re looking at, but it’s not very clear. Adding but one adverb clears up the lens better than an adjective ever would. Here is a short list of a few exciting and descriptive adverbs:

Zealously, keenly, absentmindedly, loftily, deceivingly, sheepishly, and methodically 🙂

I remember this one time when I thought, “I wonder if it would be better if I was a business major.” This indecisiveness lastly only ten seconds when I corrected my own grammar (I wonder if it would be better if I were a business major). I can’t imagine being any other major and moments when I catch myself contemplating parts of speech only confirm this feeling.

Well, that’s why I like adverbs. Comment with your own favorite part of speech, favorite adverbs, or sentiments on how weird I am because I care about such things.

 

****Note: I have been getting a lot of comments saying that one should shy away from adverbs in writing. I completely agree. I guess I should have clarified this better in the post. My love of adverbs is strictly with the spoken word, not the written.

Absolute Words

31 Mar

This is the most unique blog you will ever see. WRONG! While the sentiment is true—this is a very different blog, that statement is linguistically incorrect. The word “unique” is an absolute word. Meaning, either something is unique or it’s not—there is no such thing as degrees of uniqueness. Therefore, phrases like “really unique” and “kinda unique” are impossible because there are no exceptions to being unique. If you want to be grammatically correct, you should not use an intensifier (really, extremely) + an absolute word. The sentiment you are going for is conveyed without using any modification.

There is a whole list of words that follow the same rules:

  • absolute
  • overwhelmed
  • straight
  • opposite
  • right
  • dead
  • entirely
  • eternal
  • fatal
  • final
  • identical
  • infinite
  • mortal
  • opposite
  • perfect
  • immortal
  • finite
  • irrevocable

The only time using an intensifier to modify an absolute word is permissible if you are trying to using the combination as a rhetorical device to create an effect. For example, you might say “I am half dead” as a hyperbole to show how tired you might be. Aside from that, you should really avoid using an intensifier with a modifier. You’ll thank me later when you want to step up your writing to a more formal level.