Monday, March 22, 2010


Gentle Readers,

I am not the Grammar Police.

Yes, I have a BA in English, I am a many-times published author, and I have done my share of editing.

But when people say, Oh, you're going to correct everything I say, or Don't all the mistakes people make drive you crazy? I say no, no, I make mistakes too. It's not up to me to correct people and it doesn't bother me when the English language is mangled.

After all, that which does not change dies; therefore, we have to accept changes to our language, and some of those changes arise from errors.

I would, however, like to take this opportunity to point out a few little things that I see or hear frequently that kind of get on my nerves. I can talk about this here without pointing any fingers.

First, "I could care less." That's not the expression. It's "I couldn't care less." If you could care less, then why are you bugged about whatever "it" is? Go off and be bothered by something about which you couldn't care less.

Recently I read a message online that said I couldn't care less is a double negative so it's incorrect, but in this case, correct idiomatic English wins the day and the expression is I couldn't care less. It's similar to saying, There are some things I won't put up with. Yes, you are ending a sentence with a preposition. But it's o.k. because it's correct idiomatic English.

And that's idiomatic - not idiotmatic.

Then we have it's or its. Oh my goodness gracious I see this one screwed up all the time.

It's = It Is

So if you need to know whether to put that apostrophe in, just read your sentence out loud and say "it is" instead of it's or its. If "it is" makes sense, then it's is your man. If it doesn't make sense, you need to go with its.

I love the sea with all it's beauty.

I love the sea with all it is beauty?

I love the sea with all its beauty. Ahhhh, yes.

I am a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to grammar, I must admit. I still can't stand impact used as a verb. But I try to cope with change, I really do.

A word that has joined the ranks of "like" and "you know" is "hopefully." Hopefully, it won't rain. No, no, no, no, no. Hopefully should not be used to modify an entire sentence.

Correct use of hopefully: "Do you think it will rain?" he asked hopefully as he gazed out over the drought-stricken landscape. The incorrect sentence in the previous paragraph should read I hope it won't rain. Now, I know some of you young modern grammarians are starting to say that you can modify a sentence with hopefully, but hopefully does not need to take the place of I hope and I'll be damned if I'll go along with that change in my lifetime. Not me, nope, no sir-ree.

And consider this advertisement - Margarita's $1.99

I like the price, but why the apostrophe? People stick apostrophes in all sorts of places they don't belong and maybe some of those people should take all those apostrophes and stick 'em where the sun don't shine and where it doesn't shine.

And it's not I feel badly. Oh, so your feelings don't work? It's I feel bad. You wouldn't say I feel goodly, or at least I hope you wouldn't.

I confess: When I watch the news, if a crawl is scrawling its way along the bottom of the screen, then I read the crawl and look for errors. And I see plenty. CNN, MSNBC, I'm on to you. Fox, you can do whatever stupid stuff you want. You're already so damn dumb that nothing can make you worse.

I'll probably think of some more errors that bug this dumped wife to add to this message later. I can't help it. Its in my blood.

Ha ha! It's in my blood.


Dumped First Wife

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