My 8th-grade English teacher was amazing in her ability to explain difficult concepts.
She taught us sentence diagramming, and I swear that, somewhere in the depths of a scrapbook, I still have my final exam from her class, where she made us diagram the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution.
I got a 98 on that test. Yeah baby!
The down side of that fabulous semantic superiority is that I am hypercritical of things that are either misspelled or used in a grammatically incorrect fashion.
Should you use "there," "their," or "they're?" My quickest irk is when the apostrophe is used to indicate plurality instead of possession. A perfect example: Tire's for sale. Rose's $5.00 each, or 100's of colors to choose from!
I never stopped at one local eatery, because for their month of operations, they advertised "Dinner Now Open." It sort of seemed relevant to me that they should know that dinner was served in the diner.
It is hard for me not to stop and correct things like that, because I'm compulsive. I don't normally stop because I don't want to be perceived as an anal retentive lunatic.
I did stop one time in Forest Park, because a local business owner had the U.S. Flag hung upside down. I was still a kid and my mom was with me. But, nonetheless, you could tell the guy thought I was missing a few marbles.
I almost stopped today, because I saw a sign that said (paraphrased to protect me) "I am SAVED, or you?" I presume they meant, "I am saved, are you?" Think about it, they sound alike don't they? How would I have explained that "OR" is a logical disjunction indicating a choice. "ARE" is a verb.
They'd have called me in for psychobabble. Heck, I don't even know people who analyze road signs to that degree.
And now, oh dear, there's text. Local guy, Lee Freeman, just loves the argument about whether or not text can be used in the gerund form -- "texting."
It is his position that it cannot be used to say, "I am texting my order." It is my belief that "texting" will be incorporated into the global lexicography that has already morphed "RAM" and "Virtual Reality" into our daily language.
The ones I feel for are our poor English teachers. Can you imagine trying to teach structure, syntax, and semantics in a world that otherwise bombards students with diminutives, acronyms, IM, and slang? OMG!!
When Webster's posts the next annual vocabulary ADDITION in their next EDITION, I will be texting the updates to all my friends - even Lee Freeman. And I promise not to use any abbreviations to do it.
Denese Rodgers is executive director of Connecting Henry, a social-services, networking, community organization in Henry County.