Wednesday, October 17, 2012

31 Days: Day 17 — With thanks to my awesome nieces.

 
Well here it is, 1:02 pm on the 17th and I'm just now sitting down to write a post. The one that was supposed to be up at 4 am. I hope no one was standing in line waiting for it.

The good news is that I am finally here, and I should be able to remain upright for about 20 minutes or so. Whatever it is that my body is fighting (aka the "mystery illness") is not the lie-down-and-take-it type. It fights back with a vengeance every time I do a little too much. Yesterday afternoon I picked up one of our cars from the shop, went to the bank, had dinner with Ben and Man-squared, and then sat in Best Buy while the geeks installed new RAM in my computer.

I felt better after my half marathon than I did by the time I got home last night, and Ben found me in a puddle of tears on the bathroom floor.

So my privileges have been taken away. I'm not going anywhere, not doing any cleaning, very little cooking, nothing more strenuous than typing. And Ben is having conference calls with a few doctors to see if we can speed up the process of figuring out just what the heck is wrong with me.

Anyway, the topic du jour centers on a few of my favorite pet peeves, and a couple that were recommended by three of my beautiful and very intelligent nieces.

1. Centers around. Before I even say anything, try to make a picture of this phrase in your mind. Centers . . . around. When you think center, you picture a bulls-eye, right? So how does something center around? The phrase should be center on.

Wrong: The topic of her speech centers around the usefulness of animal shelters.

Right: The topic of her speech centers on the usefulness of animal shelters.

2. And along those lines, this one is sent in by faithful reader (and my sweet niece) Alexis: Up underneath, as in Squirrels like to hide up underneath the hood of my car when the motor is warm. But to get to the motor, you look underneath the hood. There is no up involved.

Wrong: Squirrels like to hide up underneath the hood of my car when the motor is warm.

Right: Squirrels like to hide underneath the hood of my car when the motor is warm.

3. Sent in by two other lovely nieces, Megan and Diana, is this beaut: nother, as in The cake was so good, I had a whole nother piece. They refer to this as Nother's Disease, and unfortunately, I'm not sure a cure has been discovered yet. This construction, a whole nother, is kind of like a split infinitive except that it splits a single word—zip, right up the middle—and while you can get away with some pretty fantastic things in English, splitting another is not one of them.

Wrong: The cake was so good, I had a whole nother piece.

Right: The cake was so good, I had another whole piece. (or simply another piece) (or you could go on a diet and solve the whole problem)

4. Sometimes people say phrases the way they hear them spoken, but never seeing them written, they're not sure what the phrases really say.

When my kids were little, they watched a movie called The Ransom of Red Chief. I can remember them rolling around on the floor and howling with laughter when some immigrant lady proudly sang the "Star Spangled Banner." Here's what she sang (try to sing along without laughing):

. . . Oh! The lamb's heart we bought
Were so gallant we screaming.
And the robin's dead stare
Bonbons melting in hair,
Gave proof to red flight
That our dragons were bare.
Oh! Say does that bear strangle
Hammer lie bleeding?
Oh, the lambs, they are for free!
And the bombs in the cake!

This is a pretty extreme example, but this kind of stuff happens all the time. The most recent example of this my niece Diana saw was when someone wrote for all intensive purposes. I guess whatever the person was talking about didn't apply to mild purposes. The correct phrase is for all intents and purposes.

And there you have it. Better late than never, right?

Be thankful ~

1 comment:

Anita said...

Great post. I was laughing. I don't think I've heard that one before. Praying you'll feel better soon.