A Word from the English Major

The weekly meme TMI Tuesday had a group of questions posed a couple of weeks ago that I could not resist answering. I'm a sucker for (a) sharing my opinion and (b) anything to do with words and (c) sharing my opinion on anything to do with words. Go figure.

What is your language pet peeve?
The apostricfication of language. ( In case you were wondering, I made that word up. So there.)

Plural words DO NOT need an apostrophe before the “s." Yes, Virginia, there is a difference between a plural and a possessive. Trust me. I see this done everywhere. Drives me nuts -- especially when it’s in a printed ad or something else that should have been proofed before publication. Ugh. Hello -- need a proofreader? Call me. I'm good and I'm cheap.

What is your favorite word -- both dirty and clean?
Clean: Grace. To garner unmerited favor. A beautiful word for a beautiful sentiment.

Oh, and based on my constant usage of it -- seriously. I know I overwork it, but it just fits so well sometimes.

Dirty: Shit. My go-to expletive. Said way too often (just ask Will’s teacher about that -- My Little Parrot has shared that on more than one occasion. Color me mortified.)

What is the one word you cannot spell?
ONE word? Are you joking? How much time do you have...

My inability to spell is a well-known fact. I like to think of it as being part of my charm.

What is the one word you always pronounce wrong?
N-U-C-L-E-A-R. I pronounce it like Jimmy Carter. Nucular. That’s right -- Jimmy Carter. I refuse to acknowledge that other president who also says this word this way. When I was growing up, Daddy was the spokesperson for the local power company and the term “nuclear” got a lot of play in our house. I still say it incorrectly, no matter how conscious of my mispronunciation I am. Again, it’s that charm thing.

If you could erase one popular catchphrase from the english language, what would it be?
That damn “get ‘er done.” Or anything else said by that Larry the Cable Guy. Not a fan.

Bonus: The late, and very hot Michael Hutchence once sang, "Words are weapons, sharper than knives" . What is the most hurtful thing you have ever said to anyone? Was it deliberate or accidental? What was the most hurtful thing ever said to you? Do you think it was deliberate or accidental?

The most hurtful thing I ever said to anyone was accidental. At least on the surface. It was in the midst of a bad (and I mean baaaaaad) breakup and I told my soon-to-be-ex that our relationship was a colossal mistake. The look on his face and the tone in his voice immediately let me know that I had wounded him deeply, albeit unintentionally. Still haunts me.

The most hurtful thing anyone ever said to me came from the mouth of a close relative who told me, as an impressionable young teenager, that I had the personality of a gnat. Try shaking that one when you are still working on developing yourself as a person -- including trying to build your confidence. Still haunts me. Paralyzingly so -- more often than I’d like.

Blech. Enough.

Here’s a bit of hippy trippy thematic fun from the Monkees. Look! They let Davy get close to a real instrument (and I don’t mean the wind chimes, either... he’s got drum sticks and he’s not afraid to wield them.)


Ruprecht said...

Damn if Rupe didn't write half that blog there, cj. Have you been rummaging 'round in Rupe's mind?!?

Rupe, too, has an "apostricfication Jones". Bad.

Spelling? Rupe's usually purdy goodly, but keeps an old fashioned dickshunhairy 'round for reference. (Doorstop. Paperweight. Head thunker. More. That dictionary sure does have lots of uses - the original multi-tasker!)

Rupe ends this blather with the word of the day: waccxpfr. (It was the word verification to be plugged in to activate this comment. Too bad Rupe spelt it right, huh?)

......................................... Ruprecht

April said...

"It's" versus "its" drives me nuts as well. And my bosses. We did not offer one candidate the job because of her misuse of "its" in her thank you email. (Or was it "it's"?)

Whom/who is one that I always get wrong. I tend to rewrite the entire sentence so I don't need it anymore!

Miss Attitude said...

I agree with April about it's and its too. Try teaching TV news reporters why it's important to know the difference. And speaking of the difference, I had to laugh about your-Jimmy-Carter pronunciation. I scream at the TV when the other president says it, but I'll let you slide;)
Finally, you certainly do not have the personality of a gnat! You are fabulous!

mehitabel said...

I think you've been reading my mind! The major difference? I'm a good speller. When I worked at the Not So Big Internet Provider (in email support) I was known as the Living Spellchecker. Constantly being asked how to spell words and for proper grammar usage.

On a limb with Claudia said...

This is a super fun post. You have such a sense of things - yourself - how everything works. I love that.

Madison McGraw said...

Maybe he meant gnat in a good way -like you are impossible to ignore??? Maybe he meant to say butterfly but is not good with words?
Here's what bothers me when it comes to writing fiction:Writing dialouge.
"Rachel is not lying," Peter said. When using 'said' you use a comma.
"Rachel in not lying." Peter bit his lip. You use period instead of comma.
Said is a verb. Yet, anytime an author writes said (or say) the comma comes into play. Use another form of action, and it's a period??? WTF.
I mean SWTF.
I have asked an editor about this and he it goes back to Strunk and White. But they don't say WHY it should be that way. I want to know WHY otherwise, I think it just feels WRONG.
Also, to comment on moving your blog to WP.
Though everyone sings its praises, I just find Blogger more user friendly and can actually do more with it than WP.