Tuesday, October 4, 2016

TIP TUESDAY: WHAT DO YOU WANT--GOOD GRAMMAR OR GOOD TASTE?




Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Are you old enough to remember the Winston cigarettes advertisement? Winston tastes good like a cigarette should.

Complaints about the bad, bad grammar in that slogan led to the addition of What do you want––good grammar or good taste?



The problem with the slogan, as the professor in the poster points out to his smoking students, is that it should be Winston tastes good as a cigarette should.

Should you use like or as in writing that you hope will be published?

The great bible of grammar, The Chicago Manual of Style, explains:

"The use of like as a conjunction (as in the old jingle 'like a cigarette should') has long been a contentious issue. Purists insist that as must introduce a clause and like must always be a preposition coupled with a noun {cool like springwater}. The fall of the old rule has been predicted for five decades, but today like as a conjunction is still not standard."

I think the answer to like or as lies in the formality––or lack thereof––required in your writing. A formal article requires traditional grammar. A character in a novel who is fussy and formal and named Janie Junebug needs as in her dialog. It's a descriptor of the character. If you write more casual or even bad grammar for a character, it's equally descriptive.

Always use the correct word for your writing.

Please keep in mind that on your blogs, I don't think it matters if you use like or as, but stay away from those coffin nails.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

P.S. If you haven't voted in my Battle of the Bands, I hope you'll visit This Post to choose between Boyz II Men and Jack Black. The song is "Let's Get It On." I'll announce the winner on October 7.  I love your Battle of the Bands votes and comments.

24 comments:

  1. Well, I'm a hillbilly so those niceties of "like" and "as" are lost on me. I did smoke for 15 years but I kicked it 26 years ago.

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    1. Congratulations on kicking those butts.

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  2. They do sound interchangeable to me. Glad that is okay. Although the ad with like ounds better so I can see why they went with it. Sadly, I am old enough to remember all the cigarette commercials and when it seemed like everybody in Hollywood smoked. I'm glad that has changed. :)

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    1. I remember the cigarette commercials. We sang along with all the jingles. They were catchy. I'm glad that advertising is gone.

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    2. The old movies influenced me more than the TV commercials, though. Nothing sexier than a man lighting two cigarettes at once...and then slowly handing the lady her cigarette. Almost as intimate as kissing. ;) Sure glad I quit back in 1989, though.

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    3. Oh, yes. Smoking looked glamorous and romantic. I'm glad you quit, too. Other than trying a few cigarettes when I was young, I've never smoked.

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  3. Like. As. I try to choose correctly, but don't get right all the time. I don't get other things right either. That's the way I roll :)

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    1. I don't get everthin write either. We all make misteaks. Thats why we need extra I's.

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  4. I'm old enough to remember those ads! Brr-rrr-rrr.

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    1. I remember them well. They were on TV all the time. I can still sing some of the jingles. You've come a long way, baby, to get where you got to today. You've got your own cigarette now, baby. You've come a long, long way.

      Baby has her own lung cancer now, too.

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  5. You write good like a blogger should!!

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  6. Good post, Janie.
    Grammar just makes my head hurt. I've started keeping a cheat sheet that I refer to.

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    1. If you don't want to buy the very heavy and somewhat expensive Chicago Manual of Style, Amazon offers a Chicago cheat sheet that's much less expensive. I don't know what's on it, but I hope it has the answers to common problems.

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  7. I wasn't aware of this rule for "like". I've been using bad grammar all over the place like an writer shouldn't! Darn it.

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    1. Well, what the hell are you gonna do? You toss around that bad grammar like there's no tomorrow, young lady.

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  8. I just write whatever comes to mind. Is it good? Bad? Ugly? *shrug* Who knows... But my blogging pals keep coming back for more so I must be doing something right :) I'm old enough to remember cigarette ads. And everyone smoking everywhere. One of the doctors I went to as a kid used to smoke in his office as he sat across from you!

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    1. Some of the old ads brag that doctors recommend a certain brand of cigarettes.

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  9. Oh I remember this cigarette ad and I never thought of the bad grammar....that says a lot.:)

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    1. I think I heard it so often--and I was quite young--that it never occurred to me that anything was wrong.

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  10. You know what gets me people using a small i instead of the capital I when referring to oneself just saying.

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  11. I am just trying to get past the notion of a cigarette tasting good! ;)

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  12. I stopped smoking tobacco 20 years ago when I was smoking 2 to 3 packs a day. Just quit cold turkey and never really looked back. Saved a ton of money too.

    Marketers take a lot of liberties with grammar, but it makes sense from the perspective from which they are working. In this slogan, though grammar wonks might cringe, "like" sounds better than "as"--at least the way I see it.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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  13. I just read your post about regret, and smoking is def a huge one for me! I smoked off and on for about a decade. I would never touch the shit now.

    Like versus as? I haven't actively thought about it as of late. (Like of late?) I just know I hate when I find out I've been making unforgivable grammar mistakes.

    -andi

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