Tag Archives: grammar

Merry Grammarmas to all and to all a goodnight!

27 Jun

Hmmm. That’s odd. It’s June 27. It’s 80 degrees out, perfect beach weather, and I’m drinking an iced coffee. However, I had to check five different technologies to make sure it wasn’t December 25. Today feels like Christmas. Then I realized, today is not Christmas; it must be Grammarmas! You won’t want to sit next to your fireplace, drink hot chocolate, and sing carols. Instead you’ll want to read some Strunk and White and speak only in Iambic Pentameter. This Grammarmas, I got the best presents from Grammar Claus and I want to share them with you.

While perusing the Internet this morning at work, I found a buried treasure of obscure and unusual punctuation. Thank you, Grammar Claus! This is the best Grammarmas present ever! I was so excited as I was reading about their various uses. Believe it or not, it was more exciting than the day that the English Department gives out the course offerings pamphlet for the following semester. It was quite the challenge at work as I could barely contain myself with delight. I needed to take a break so I could calm down and get a tissue to wipe away the tears of joy that were welling up in my eyes.

I won’t make this any more suspenseful for you, as I am sure you are dying to see these punctuation presents. They will be sure to warm your heart as they did mine. I only included my favorite ones because I didn’t want to overwhelm you.

irony-point

This is the Irony Point. It is a backwards question mark. How cool is that! It is used to indicate that the sentence is meant to be understood on a second level. In other words, you could use this when the sentence contains an element of irony or even sarcasm. No, that’s not cool at all؟

love-point

This is the Love Point. So basically, I would use this after every sentence describing these new punctuation marks. 🙂 Before I go on, I want to warn you that these are the marks really caused me to need to take a breather. I completely encourage you to read on, but when you collapse onto the floor, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

exclamation-comma

This is called the Exclamation Comma. It is the beloved child of the exclamation point and the comma. You use it when you want to show excitement, but you don’t want to finish the sentence.

question-comma

The Question Comma is the inquisitive cousin of the exclamation comma.

interrobang

This punctuation is called the Interrobang.  I’m sure you can guess how you would use this one. This is the exact punctuation I would have use when I discovered all of these marks. (“Whatttt?!?!?? THERE’S MORE?!?!?”)

  As you may know, the semicolon used to be my favorite punctuation mark. I’m sorry, semicolon, but we’re done. We had a long relationship that lasted many years. You helped me add dynamic to my writing with varying sentence structure. You worked so well with words like however and therefore and complicated items in a series. Unfortunately, it seems as if our love affair has come to an end. I realized that there is so much more interesting punctuation out there. I am sure you’ll find another gramatician that you will make very happy.

Merry Grammarmas everyone! I hope you enjoyed these wonderful grammar presents.

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 🙂

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Words are fun!

1 May

I found this thoroughly entertaining and pretty cute. I must give credit to iwastesomuchtime where I found it. Check it out! 🙂

Words are fun!