Peruse means to read something carefully. It seems, however, that a good number of people think it means the opposite, to skim through something or glance at it for a short amount of time. I always find people saying that they quickly perused through something. No one peruses anything quickly! By definition, perusing something takes time. Except maybe Cat in the Hat. I suppose anyone over the age of seven could peruse that fairly quickly. But you know what I mean.
This one started with American Idol. Someone on that show kept saying, “That’s a whole nother thing!” I think it was Randy Jackson. I had heard it before many times, but it really didn’t irk me until that moment. It was that season with the guy with the hair, and there was a lot of time to tune out the singing and instead ponder grammatical errors. And pitchiness.
The thing is, when used in this way, the word “another” is really just like saying “an other,” so when you put an additional word in between them, the “an” is likely to become “a” instead. So Randy should have said, “That’s a whole other thing!” The “n” is lost to the consonant. Maybe I should get in touch with Randy’s people.
I am a woman who has six sisters-in-law. That’s a lot of sisters-in-law. I owe this bounty to the fact that my husband is the youngest of eight siblings. And my own brother isn’t even married yet, so hopefully, someday I will be able to say that I have seven sisters-in-law. It is really important that I someday have seven sisters-in-law, because my poor mother should be able to say that she has one singular daughter-in-law. Her singular son-in-law, joyously obtained ten years ago, just isn’t enough anymore. A wedding is in order! And don’t get her started on her lack of grandchildren (no grammatical issue here to discuss, just general acknowledgement of her obscene dearth of grandchildren).
I think because of my abundance of sisters-in-law, it has always bothered me when people say sister-in-laws when they mean the plural of sister-in-law. I do, however, get a little bit of joy in pondering what a sister-in-laws would mean. Is it a sister bond that is so strong that it encompasses all laws? A sister connection that went all the way to the supreme court? A policewoman whose sister is a sheriff? Nope. It’s just a bunch of grammatically incorrect but wonderful husband’s sisters and husband’s brothers’ wives. Phew, I really had to think about the possessive rules for that last sentence. Happy Football Sunday to all and Go Chargers (for my San Diego-based sisters-in-law)!
This one has been on my list since high school. I think it was sophomore year, and much of our English classes that year focused on poetry. I never got poetry. Other people seemed to instantly get the meaning behind each poem we studied and were able to identify even the most obscure symbolism. Clearly, the bird represents the human spirit and the water means Jesus! Cue to everyone in the class nodding in agreement. Huh, what? How did they get that? Wait, there was a bird?
Part of the class was to write our own poem. My poem was beyond terrible. I accept that. I used absolutely no symbolism. Although, there was a bird. One of the guys in the class had written an incredible, albeit bird-less, poem. At least, I was told it was incredible. This amazing poem was printed in large font and displayed proudly on the bulletin board behind my desk in the back row. (Tip for high school students: the back row is a good place to properly observe agreement head-nodding, so as to follow suit and not look like the poetry idiot you are.) Right smack in the middle of the poem was the line “He would of gone to the lake” in big bold letters, and right above the poem was a big red star with an A+ and a “100%!!” (the exclamation points are the teacher’s) to add insult to injury. I think the misspelling of “would’ve / would have” could have been grounds to knock off at least one percentage point, right? The error wasn’t even noted! I had to sit under that dang thing for three months. It drove me nuts. Obviously, I was not cool at all in high school. Grammar nerds aren’t invited to a lot of happening parties. Maybe you high schoolers should disregard my previous seating tip. Because I can only assume that the bulk of the readership for my snooty grammar blog consists of teenagers.
I should mention that I am an architect and am not formally trained in any sort of writing or English or really anything that would remotely qualify me to be an authority in the English language. I just wanted a place get all grammary and to vent to like-minded souls about the scary turn our language is taking. I’m not pegging myself an expert by any means, and I am sure you will find me regularly committing various grammatical sins. I am notorious for mixing up the words “allowed” and “aloud”. I don’t know why. My brain just can’t handle that particular homophone. I am no longer aloud to use those words ever again. Crap. And apparently “grammary” is not a word. Double crap. This snooty grammar blog of mine is not starting off well.
I know there are others like me. Those who, because of the incorrect use of “it’s” on a sign for a favorite restaurant, can no longer fully enjoy the delicious garlic chicken. Those who have to bite their tongue when a friend says “her and I went to the store” for the seventh time in five minutes. Those who noticed that the previous two sentences were, in fact, not sentences at all. But for the sake of having friends and being kind-hearted blog readers, we don’t say anything. We lament to our (ever saintly) spouses and grammar-nerd friends, but it’s all too much. I mean, it’s as if being handy with the English language isn’t even cool anymore!
So this is a place to talk about the minutiae of grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization and the like without alienating (any further, at least) those many people in our lives who just don’t care about apostrophes.