28 August 2009

They Shoot Overly-Critical Grammarians, Don't They?

Anyone who knows me even in a moderate sense knows that I am a grammar Nazi. Some of my professors at college would actually have me read papers to catch any mistakes they might have missed. I hate it when someone says, "Where're you at?" because prepositions don't go at the end of sentences. (I can be guilty of this, but I usually catch and correct myself.)

But my tyrant-like behavior in this respect doesn't just apply to the construction of sentences. Oh, no. It carries over into pretty much every part of language.

First, there is a way to pronounce things. It's spelled a certain way. I mean, sure, if you want to say toh-mah-toh instead of toh-may-toh, that's fine.

There are the tried and true "nuclear" (not nucular) and larynx (not larnyx). Those get me every time. Then there's "ask." I'm not going to axe one, because a question isn't a log or a job position. No r's exist in wash or question, and "r" is pronounced "are," not "arrah."

I know, I know. It's cultural. My trainer at work is from West Tennessee, where Memphis is called "Meh-phis," and she frequently asked querstions. I overlooked that because she was awesome (and actually found her mispronunciation of basic words rather endearing), but if anyone else had spoken that way, I would have wanted to commit some grammatically-induced homicide. Luckily for Douche Turd (from a previous post), he speaks correctly ... well, at least when he's not mumble-rambling.

Another irritation for me is when someone uses a phrase like "desert island." Now, I understand that this person is talking about a location that is isolated and uninhabited, so I suppose the actual communication isn't disrupted. But it's a deserted island. Because there's nobody else on it, unless you're a cast member of "Lost." And then you're just screwed, at least as far as I know because I've never actually watched the show.

This kind of thing gets me in trouble because, one, most people don't like to be corrected, and two, it distracts me from concentrating on the conversation because I'm focusing on the infraction. It's like Dane Cook's disgust with girls who exaggerate too much.

"... When you tell me a story, I really listen. I listen, and I don't just listen, I listen ... See, my brain is so fantastical that when you start to exaggerate, I don't follow the story. I follow the exaggeration. And it gets me frustrated, because she would be like ... 'I got off from here, I took a hundred hour nap.' No, you did not. You'd be very sick if you were taking hundred hour naps. That's a coma."

And that's basically how I am, only with grammar and pronunciation. I wouldn't say my brain is fantastical or anything because that would be rather pretentious. And we have enough of that already, and I think the majority of them live in the Hillsboro Village area of Nashville.


  1. Nice post. I don't like it when people spell 'definitely' with an 'a'. Past and passed are misused frequently, as well.

    On the other hand, I catch myself about to say 'kinnygarden' because no one beat the wrong pronunciation out of me. :)

  2. Thank you so much for the comment!

    Wait, people spell "definitely" with an "a?" Really????? Who does that?

    You know what? I don't wanna know, because then I'll be haunted by that information.

  3. I've caught myself trying to spell definitely like "definately" every once in a while. I mean, I catch myself, but it's usually because my mind is on something else at the time, and I'm not really paying attention when I'm typing. And it's only when I type. Weird.

    And yes. Mispronunciation is horribly annoying. To follow your lead with the Dane Cook references, it makes me want to punch a baby.

    Too bad Dane Cook turned into a turd farmer.

  4. I hear a lot of speech eccentricities here in Newfoundland (I have live here 3 years). Most everyone is descended from Irish immigrants and hundred of years of isolation have them speaking with an accent different than the rest of Canadians.

    A popular expression is "What're you at?" I have learned to ignore and accept the odd speech stuff. If I pointed it out, I would be sent packing on the next boat to the mainland!

    The mispronounced words that bug me are 'meer' instead of 'mirror' and 'chimley' instead of 'chimney'. *chuckles to himself* I'm too scared to ask about Douche Turd...