Wednesday, September 19, 2007

At the risk of sounding like a grammar snob, I share the following:

A young lady on facebook (yes, I have a facebook. I have four teenagers who have billions of friends who all use it, and in my effort to keep up with them and just sort of be an adult presence there, I keep my own page going. And no, they don't seem to mind.) asked a question recently. "What makes you cringe?" Well. . . if I really let loose and went through all of it, I would use up all my available storage space here at Blogspot, so I'll pick the two or three things that make me cringe the most.

1. Using less when you mean fewer. Less is used for measurable quantities, as in less coffee. Fewer is used for countable objects, as in fewer coffee beans. Either way it's a tragedy. The other day I was watching TV and saw a commercial for some skin care product. The model touted that if you used X you would have "less wrinkles." I almost came out of my imperfect skin.

2. Using there's with a plural. Newscasters are the most guilty of this. And NASCAR announcers, but I have much more patience with them since they grew up in the South where grammar is as foreign as grits in Paris. Think back to the last hurricane when you were watching the Weather Channel. Didn't you hear someone say, "Bob, there's trees down everywhere!" Huh? There is trees down? Someone forgot to teach contractions in third grade.

And finally,

3. Using hone when you mean home. To hone is to sharpen or make better, as in I honed my cooking skills and my hubby got fat with all the practice. To home is to zero in on, as in Our radar helped us home in on the suspect. This is another one I hear misused by telecasters quite often.

And really finally, I'll tell you about one my grandmother remembers. She was reading an article in the paper many years ago about owls. The statement was made that "owls are wonton killers." I'll let you think about that.

Be thankful ~

Karen

3 comments:

Jeana said...

"the South where grammar is as foreign as grits in Paris"

Um, OUCH.

I was born and raised in the south, and I was nodding in agreement with everything you said, until I got to that one. Please tell me you don't believe we all love dogfighting down here, too?

bensrib said...

Hi Jeana, No, and I apologize if I offended you. I can say that completely without malice because I've spent more than half my life in the south (TN) and call it home. I'm sure grammar is taught and loved by some, as it is in the north. Mostly I was picking on NASCAR announcers because they have some of the worst grammar I've ever heard. If you hang around a while, you'll find that I almost never say anything with the intention of being offensive, unless I'm talking politics and trying to make a point, which I don't do often. I'm just not that way. Again, sorry if I offended you - I certainly didn't intend to. Karen

Jeana said...

Karen, not offended at all, I knew you were speaking with somewhat of a teasing tone. NASCAR is kind of its own culture, isn't it? I'll make you a deal though--don't group me in your mind with NASCAR fans and I won't group you with the crooked politicians. (Aren't you near DC?) Thanks for your reply, but I was just messing with you. ;-)