I have been putting off this WCYSW because I do not want to seem like a total blow hard and, let’s be honest, the people to whom this article applies will not understand that it is directed toward them (probably because they cannot read). But, y’all, it is time to be talking about grammar. I have seen it preached over and over by you good people of Facebook and every time I think, “Yes! You’re right! They’re all idiots!” But then I think, “IS it that they’re all idiots or do ‘they’ just don’t care?” Either way, shame on them.
In today’s digital age, typos are a part of life (See that? They are “a part”, inclusive. Not “apart”, exclusive.) Almost every week, I have to go back and edit typos in my article after already publishing it for everyone (re: my Mom) to read. A few weeks ago I accidentally wrote Shallow Hall instead of Shallow Hal. Shallow Hall?? What is Shallow Hall?? It certainly is not a hilarious movie starring Tony Robbins, Jack Black, Jason Alexander, and Gwyneth Paltrow in a fat suit. That mistake is an example of a typo. I am aware that it is meant to be Shallow Hal, but I accidentally typed Shallow Hall. It perhaps makes me unobservant, but not ignorant. A few weeks before that, I wrote something about lightning bugs, but spelled it “lightening bugs”. I know the difference between “lightning” and “lightening”, but at the time, I did not think about that difference. I typed “lightening” and the red squiggly line did not tell me I was wrong, so I thought I had done it right. I did not do it right and that is an example of my ignorance.
I have heard it argued that grammar does not matter. That in this day and age when we are all typing on all sorts of devices all the live long day, it does not really matter if I tell you “then” when I mean “than” because you will know what I meant and I have a lot of other people to type to and I cannot take the time to do it correctly. But I say that mentality is not okay! I say in this day and age when we are all typing on all sorts of devices all the live long day, it is more important than ever that we use the correct words. Again, typos and &@$# autocorrect happens to the best of us, but text with someone for 5 minutes or look at 3 Facebook status updates, and you can tell if this person just has fat thumbs and cannot always hit the right letters on their phone (like me), or if they are straight up ignorant. I know it seems harsh to label someone as ignorant for confusing “accept” with “except”, but my extreme reaction is for the sake of comedy…sort of. I see status updates from people who went to the same, very expensive high school that I went to, saying things like, “I’m to wired to sleep rite now.” or “If you don’t like reading this than unfriend me.” I would, but then I would have no fodder for my blog. I do not think that a private school education is inherently better than a public school education, but it makes me sick to my stomach to think about the money those parents wasted sending their child to private school when they should have left them to their own devices and used the money for a European vacation for two. I mean, I do not remember everything Mr. Sanderson taught us in 10th grade English. Clearly, I have problems with commas and modifiers, but I DO know that it is a “comma”, not a “coma” and that the “effects” of English class did not “affect” every student in the same way, and that Jerry Garcia is the greatest musician of all time. Oh, Mr. Sanderson was a little bit of a hippie. I understand that in this fast paced society, it is easy to let an incorrect use of “there” or “their” slip by, but the people with whom I wish to be friends do not need an inordinate amount of time to figure out the correct usage. It is second nature to them. For my fellow Waiting for Guffman fans, “You know exactly what you’re doing, and then you forget about it.” It’s a zen thing. It’s like, you know, “how many babies fit in the tire” thing.
So, for those of you who just don’t know what is correct and what is not, I do not know what to tell you. Maybe audit a 10th grade English class? Sure the cool kids will make fun of you for wearing a sweater for which, “like, 10 chickens had to die just so she could look so stupid,” but then your brother David Arquette will enroll at the school and tell everyone you are rad and you’ll be crowned prom queen (even though “You SO do not deserve to be PROM QUEEN!”) and you’ll marry dreamy Mr. Coulson and he’ll rock your world. Excuse me, but I believe that any adult going back to high school will have the exact same experience as Drew Barrymore in the 1999 classic Never Been Kissed. If you DO know what is right, but you do not think grammar is important, you are wrong. Completely and utterly wrong. I make exceptions for some things, such as this blog. I try to write to you, dear reader (my Mom), the way I would speak to you (Mom), if we were having a conversation with our voices. Sometimes that means starting sentences with conjunctions (see above), or using sentence fragments (see above), or ending sentences with prepositions (see above). Because sometimes structuring a sentence with “to whom” or “for which” makes one sound like Shakespeare or Harry Potter and I would never compare myself to the great bard or wizard. But if I had told you about the way I “right” instead of the way I “write”, I would expect you to think a little less of me. As we become less reliant on talking to each others’ faces and more reliant on typing to each others’ mobile devices, it becomes increasingly important to be able to properly represent ourselves via written word. That is, if you care about getting a job, or a…pen pal(?)…or most importantly, a DATE. The main reason I have chosen not to date approximately 95% of the guys who have asked is because of an ignorant text. The most common text I get—from GROWN MEN—is “Your beautiful” and I’m like, “My beautiful what? I have a lot of beautiful things, such as my teeth or shoulders or shoes, but if you are talking about my knees or my hair, I know you’re fooling and I do not appreciate you patronizing me, so which is it?” I mean, I’m just supposed to assume he means “You’re beautiful”? I am not that vain. Or maybe I did not date you because you told me you were a writer but then repeatedly asked, via text, to take me to “diner”. I’m sorry, but until you can show me that you know you take someone to A diner FOR dinner, and that I deserve to be taken someplace fancier than a diner on a first date, we’re gonna have to remain casual acquaintances. The worst of all was a guy who told the world, via Facebook, that he could not wait for Sunday when he could “route” for his favorite football team. Obviously the problem there is that I cannot date an NFL fan. SATURDAY is the Biblical day for football. Again, I sound judgmental and harsh, but what if I married and had kids with one of these men? How could I love a kid that told me, “Mommy, I love you more then anything!”?? I mean, I’d love it because I’m a good person, but why put that burden on myself?
All of that being said, I won’t really write you off as a friend or possible romantic companion based on poor grammar. I mean, it will be my first inclination, but I’m gonna try really hard not to. Can we all just agree to do better on both fronts? In the meantime, here is a little guide to get you started: If you are sending me a text with the word “your” in it, take a second to ask yourself if you could replace “your” with “U R”, then if the answer is “yes”, DO NOT send “your” OR “U R”, simply change it to “you’re” or “you are”. I enjoy a person who can communicate without contractions. If you want to tell me “Congratulations”, but you think it is spelled “Congradulations”, maybe just tell me “Congrats!” instead. I will thank you for it. And never ever drink too much alcohol. If you do, then you will be drunker than a skunk. Why do skunks gotta be such alcoholics? Hey, skunks, every now and then it is okay for you to just have seltzer water. If you were not already picturing a drunk skunk falling off his barstool while ordering another martini, here you go. YOU’RE welcome.