Thursday, May 27, 2010

Some Tips From a Word Freak

I'm a self-proclaiming word-freak. I, dorky though it may be, LOVE grammar. I love reading. I love writing. I love figuring out what part of speech some particular word is when looking at a complicated sentence. What can I say?!? I was raised by an English teacher, and then taught middle school English myself. :)

Now, that's not to say that I am constantly judging the words of other people. I'm not the kind of English person for whom (yep, that's correct) you have to watch your every word for fear of the wrath of my judgement. Promise.

But there are some things proliferating our society that are just DRIVING ME NUTS!!! So I thought I'd give us all a little lesson.

These things are skipping over the usual "its/it's", "their/there/they're", "to/too" lessons (but PLEASE, if you haven't figured those out, ask me. They're simple and if you're over the age of 8, you should know how to use them correctly.)

I'm also avoiding text-speak (although please don't EVER write UR or B4 to me - UGH!!!).

The first lessons there have been taught so many times and I don't want to be repetitive. The text-speak -- well, I fear that is a hopeless cause.

These are some newer problems I'm starting to see (or seeing more often) that are just making me BATTY!!!

1.) Take/Bring -- I never really noticed the misuse of these words until teaching a lesson on commonly confused words while student teaching. I read these on the list and thought, "No one misuses THESE words. They're simple." Then I watched ER that night and noticed that, in fact, these words were missued regularly - just in that one show. Now I hear it ALL THE TIME!!! So to clarify:

*Bring implies an object moving CLOSER to you.
*Take implies an object moving AWAY from you.

Thus, if you are downstairs, you can not ask your child to "Bring this upstairs to Daddy." The correct sentence would be "Take this upstairs to Daddy." (Or, if you're like me and trying to lose weight, you could save the chance of a misused word and get off your own lazy but and take it upstairs yourself. :) haha!)

2.) Yeah/Yea/Yay -- This has become one of the most irritating words in my entire universe. I see it on Facebook regularly. I work in a world where all communication is IM, thus I get attacked by it there as well. It's really simple (and I learned it from bulletin boards while in ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, so surely we can all learn it spelled out simply as adults, no?).

*Yeah - This spelling is the word that means "affirmative". It's sort of a slang version of "yes". As in, 'Yeah, I DO know how to use this word correctly."

*Yea - This word is a positive exclamation. It should be used in any place where you mean something similar to "Yipee!" or "Woohoo!". As in, "Yea! I finally figured out the correct spelling of this word!"

*Yay - This is NOT A FRIGGIN WORD!!!!! It's the made-up text-speak spelling of a word that someone chose because no one ever taught them that it's spelled "yea". Just sayin'.

3.) Quotation marks ARE NOT the same thing as BOLD TYPE!!! I think this started with the extensive use of air quotes to denote sarcasm or a joking nature. However, it's taken over and suddenly I'm seeing quotes everywhere!!! Here's some appropriate uses of quotation marks:

*Use quotation marks when directly quoting someone.

*Use quotation marks when writing a title of a TV show or magazine article.

*Use quotation marks when you mean "so called". Ex. The "comedian" at the comedy club was the least funny person I have EVER encountered. (This is the typed equivalent of air quotes.)

Do NOT use quotation marks, however, to simply give a word emphasis. This is incorrect and makes my heart die a little each time I see it.

Here are two of my favorite misused quotation marks (on signs in local restaurants).

*Change for candy "here"
*"No" parking at Wendy's. They will tow.

WHAT?!? Oh my!!!!!

4.) This last one is more a racial/cultural word issue, but it is EVERYWHERE and driving me nuts just the same.

MEXICAN and HISPANIC are NOT the same thing. Calling every hispanic person you meet "Mexican" is the equivalent of saying all Americans are Alabamians. Yes, all Alabamians are Americans (as all Mexicans are hispanic), but the converse is not true. In Geometry, we called this a falacy or FALSE LOGIC!!!

The most fabulous part about this is, at least where I live, the majority of hispanics are NOT Mexican. It's not like you're only getting it wrong for 1 out of 20 people. It's more likely that you are getting it correct for 1 out of 20 people. In my particular neighborhood, almost all the hispanics are Columbian. Mexican doesn't apply to them in ANY way at all.

It's WRONG, OFFENSIVE, and a simple fix, people. Please take note!!!

Ok, I think I'm done now. :) Don't you all feel more educated and better prepared to face the world today?!?

I thought so.


Love & Shipoopies,


Whitney said...

Guilty of the using yeah and yea in place of each other. sad thing is i fully understand the difference and my fingers type and post faster than my brain recognizes the mistake.

Love the post and my biggest faux pas... simply not proof reading. Also one of my biggest pet peeves. I want to slap myself when reading an old blog and find i wrote half a word or overlooked an obvious mistake.

Biggest hurdle still....blasted commas. :)

Leslie said...

Yeah, I'm a little over-zealous with the commas. Always have been. :)

McCrakensx4 said...

Too funny! We were just talking about that yesterday and how text talking is becoming the rage. My hubby teaches HS english and it drives him bonkers!! He refuses to text type even when he's texting! He has actually had students hand in work with text type in it...he is like "are you kidding me?" I am guitly with using the word YaY!! I like it and think it's fun...don't hate me! And I use the dot dot dot ... WAY to much! Oh well!
Thanks for setting us straight!