Grammar bridge?

I’m not sure if its because we’re all relieved the weekend is here, or if we’re all punchy from another long week, but for some reason, the conversations in the newsroom on Fridays can get pretty strange.

Basic grammar questions and comments are par for the course at the Daily Globe, but today a new element was added. A bridge.

Laura, who covers the city beat and education, was sifting through a few e-mails with general news releases and commented about one, "She always spells a lot like its one word…alot."

"Lots of people do that," Kari said.

"Well, if everyone jumped off a grammar bridge and died…," Laura shot back.

After a momentary pause, we all burst into laughter.

Only those forced to think in AP style every day would find the humor in this. Stopping to think about every word you use can lead to a lot of second guessing.

Beth is our go-to gal for most grammar questions, mostly because its easier than dragging out the AP stylebook.

Their/there/they’re, accept/except, your/you’re…those are the everyday grammar things that are easy to figure out because they come up so often in a normal day. 

Affect/effect? That can pop up unexpectedly. Counsel/council? Depends on your beat. Laura uses one often, while I tend to use another. Principle/principal? The rule of action or the person? Passed/past? Did it go by or is it over?

And then there’s the apostrophe issue. Nothing bugs us more than seeing a sign that says Nelson’s or Smith’s on a house. If it says Nelson’s house, thats OK. But not just Nelson’s.

Don’t even get me started on the its/it’s thing. 

Ebonics. E gads, Ebonics! Dis, dat, spect, and the worst…aks.

"Don’t aks me what dis is about! I spect you ta know!"

Everyone has their personal pet peeves when it comes to grammar.

I once worked with a woman who insisted there was no such thing as a third-grader. Graders are road equipment, not children. And children are not kids, kids are baby goats.

Personally, I raised kids who have all at one point or another been a third-grader, but like I said, everyone has their pet peeves.

Technically, AP doesn’t care if we use grader or kid. Or if we hold a meeting, but Beth doesn’t like that one.

What gets me, besides the horrible overuse of the word "that", is toward, forward, backward.Why do people add an S? Even fancy-schmancy public speakers sometimes say "towards" and it bugs me. Even Prez Obama does it.

Which brings up an interesting point. I started a sentence in this blog with the word "and," which should never happen, and I certainly don’t speak with perfect grammar. We relax for blogs, and fight a daily struggle resisting the urge to correct other people’s grammar.

I saw a t-shirt a few years ago I wish I would have purchased, but the issue was I didn’t know whether to get it for Beth or keep it for myself.

"Yes, I am the grammar police," it stated. "And you are under arrest for murdering the English language."

Yep, I know what you’re all thinking…Justine, go jump off a grammar bridge!

2 thoughts on “Grammar bridge?

  1. Great blog topic! I have given up being a grammar cop. About the time I point out someone else’s error, I slip up on my own. I just cringe most of the time, but cringe the most if I find my own slip! I think some of the grammar errors come from bad habits picked up by conversing with a mix of language styles around you (different regional styles, dialects, different levels of language instruction, etc.), and that often can transfer into your writing, especially blogs. If the blog is interesting, I might be able to wade through a few more errors than I generally accept.

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