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Entries in grammar (2)

Thursday
Apr052012

WTFriday? Where's my eraser?

Life would be colorless and boring without descriptors, wouldn’t you agree?   Adjectives are sexy and we writers enjoy the abundance of choices available in our beautiful English language.   But what happens when a word is overused?   What happens when a word is misused?   Over and over again?    Thinking further, what happens when said overuse and misuse becomes the rule rather than the exception?  

Don’t you want to pour Drano in your ears?

Or maybe you’re not especially fond of bodily harm, so don’t you just want to erase the word from the English language?

Yeah.  Me too.  

Three words come to my mind that fit the descriptions of either overuse or misuse, and all three make me want to use that Drano or eraser in order to get rid of those ear-numbing words. 

The first word is AWESOME.  Everybody says it.  Everybody thinks that everybody else says it way too much.  Take yours truly, for example.  I am the AWESOME guru.  Keeper of the AWESOME.  A regular AWESOME Houdini, if you will.  I will produce that word under any and all circumstances.  I will make it fit, even when there’s not a speck of awesomeness to be found for miles. People have even politely pointed out to me that I use too much AWESOME.  Oh I heard them.  I just didn’t listen.  You see, back in the olden days, when I first found my AWESOME, we bonded in a most unique and intimate way.  I could never leave my AWESOME because then I’d just be plain OK.  AWESOME is so much better than OK.  Ever try to use the word OK to substitute for AWESOME?   That would not be OK!

So we’ll just let AWESOME have a pass shall we?  I can’t give it up yet.  I am hoarder of the AWESOME.  An AWESOME hoarder, if you will.

WTFriday?

I think I’ll just go on to the next word.

The second word is AMAZING.  Personally, I don’t use this word nearly as often as other people.  You know, because I already have my own word with which to annoy others.  I don’t need AMAZING.  Other people, however, make me freaking nuts with their overuse of AMAZING and their apparent lack of any other descriptive word that might fit.  Hell, I would lend them AWESOME if they’d just stop using AMAZING so often.  People?  Not everything is AMAZING!   Not everyone is AMAZING! And?  Just because your new puppy finally took a poop outside instead of on your Persian rug, that does not necessarily warrant an AMAZING.  You want to know what AMAZING is?   I’ll tell you.   AMAZING is winning the freaking lottery.  AMAZING is writing a best-selling novel.  AMAZING is getting your partner to agree to a threesome. Actually that’s not AMAZING - That would be a miracle.  (No she did not just say that!)

Ahem.  Let’s press on, shall we?

The third and final word is one that is used mostly by our youth.  And by youth I mean anyone younger than me. Uh, basically everyone.  I’ve been hearing it for a few years now, misused as a term of positivity.   The word to which I am referring is SWEET.   For those who don’t know, SWEET was not always used as an exclamation of glee just because someone showed up at a boring party with some weed.   No, seriously, SWEET was formerly used to indicate how sugar tastes.   Now, if one really wanted to stir the proverbial pot, one could say SWEET when eating something that tastes sweet, but not because it’s actually SWEET, but rather because it’s AWESOME.  That’s the only way I can figure to explain this whole mess.  You see, I really hate it when SWEET is misused.  To me, it’s like nails on a blackboard or popping pimples or picking one’s nose in public.  It grates on my nerves and makes me batshitcrazy.  (Props to Rachel for my new favorite word.)

So there you have it.  Three words that just shouldn’t be.   They are misused and overused and tired and we need some different words.  For example, try substituting a different but equally as effective word for AWESOME, AMAZING or SWEET every time.  Yes, you might need to actually use a dictionary or thesaurus.  It wouldn’t be unheard of.  In fact, it would be freaking AWESO….

Uh I mean wonderful.

And wouldn’t expanding your vocabulary impress your friends and family?  That would be freaking AMAZI…..

Uh I mean fabulous.

And afterwards you could all go out and get ice cream to celebrate!  That would be SWEE

Uh I mean delicious.

WTFriday?

Actually, you know what?  It would be SWEET.  A freaking AWESOME and AMAZING kind of SWEET!  

But now that word FREAKING is starting to get on my nerves.

Where’s my Eraser?

***********

What overused and/or misused words get on your nerves?

 

 

(Images from Google Images)

Thursday
Mar292012

WTFriday? Grammar Schmammer

The more I blog, the more I realize what a complete idiot I must look like at times.  I consistently and carefully peruse my finished work before posting it, for typos, spelling and grammatical errors.  Sometimes, granted, I write poorly on purpose, in order to be humorous or drive my all-important-save-the-world-and-then-pass-the-potatoes point home.  See?  I just did it.  I took sentence-structure and grammatical liberties in the interest of making you people chuckle.   And?  I shall continue to do so.  Why?  Because I like it when you like it.  And?  Sometimes I don’t know any better. And other times?  I’m a rebel.  Or.  It’s just how I roll.  Or.  It is what it is.  Or.  Just pick a cliché.

For example, anyone out there in Bloggyland know the proper usage of affect versus effect

Anybody?

Anybody?

Yep, it makes me crazy, too.  I always knew how to use their, they’re and there correctly, and I finally figured out how to use the mind-numbing tenses of lay and lie, albeit I still think they are stupid.  But? Affect and Effect make me want to do very bad things to dictionary.com and all grammar books in general.  Mean pre-meditated, Not-nice things.

But I digress.  Don’t you hate it when people write that?  We do it for effectUh, or is that affect?   Oh shit, I’ll be right back.

WTFriday?

Ok, ok I got it now.  We do it for effect.

I think that’s right?

Let me double check.  Hang on…

Yep, yep that’s right.   Effect.

So you see how crazy this makes me?

I finally gave up on dictionary.com and resorted to the only other reasonable website I could think of:   Grammar Girl

According to Grammar Girl, Affect is always a verb and Effect is always a noun.

Except when it’s not. 

Except when it’s NOT ?

WTFriday?

Apparently, there are a couple of instances where you’d use affect as a noun and effect as a verb.  You can read up on that and get back to me, ok?   Exceptions suck.

If you go to the link for Grammar Girl I supplied, you can read her explanation. I read it and I was almost convinced, until she started going on and on about animals.  Hard-to-spell animals.  She just about lost me.

But I pressed on.

Grammar Girl wrote something to the effect that if you can remember aardvark, you can remember when to use affect and when to use effect.   Uh…huh.  When I read that, I immediately thought, “Oh! It must have something to do with spelling aardvark, right?  It’s supposed to trigger the memory!”

Nope.  Not even close.

Actually you not only have to remember aardvark in order to know how to use effect and affect, you also have to remember several steps in between. 

WTFriday?

Several steps, you say, Grammar Girl?   And that is supposed to make it easier  HOW?

I’m still back trying to remember how to spell aardvark without looking.  And I don’t even know why!

This whole rigmarole is affecting my inner peace and the effect is a little unsettling, I must say. 

Did I get that right?

Let me check…

Yep, nailed it!  But I had to look it up.   And the sad fact of the matter is, I will always have to look it up.

So basically I’m screwed.  And without even one kiss. Just not the same effect.   

Ha!   I didn’t look that one up.  It is correct, isn’t it?

Are you sure?

Am I sure?

OH HELL, I’m looking it up.

You see?   I learned virtually nothing, my brains are scrambled, my inner peace in turmoil, my chakra no longer in balance, AND I bit my fingernails clean down to the quick.   So what did I end up doing?  Well, I sat down and wrote a note to Grammar Girl, and it went something like this:

Dear Grammar Girl:

Seriously?  I ask you, was it your intention to affect me this way?  Over this past year, I’ve given you lots of attention, been loyal, sung your praises to anyone who would listen, and visited you often (sometimes late at night)

And what did I get? 

I (pronoun?) got (verb?) confused (adjective?).   So thanks for nothing Grammar Girl!

~signed 

Terri,

Your Ex  (follower)

P.S.  I want a divorce.

 

*****

Was that correct?

Oh hell, I gotta go look it up. 

                 

 Disclaimers:

** The above was purely for humorous purposes.

Grammar Girl is actually an excellent reference for all grammar-related questions.