Archive for the ‘grammar’ Category

Planting The Seeds of Decent Grammar

June 8, 2007

Faithful readers,

Having read this blog, you know full well that I am not much of a grammar nazi. But I try to use proper grammar and full, reasonably coherent sentences. Sure, I throw the odd semicolon around with wild abandon, but I don’t normally go around chastising people for their dangling gerunds (I looked that up btw). However, I draw the line at the increasing use of “Good” as a response to “How’s it going?” or “How are you doing?”.

I attempted to head this off at the pass this morning as I drove my sub 6 daughter to school:

“How is so-and-so doing?”, I asked.

“Good”, she replied.

Attempting to seize the opportunity and right the listing ship, I tactfully say, “Y’know… it’s proper to say ‘well’ when someone asks you how you’re doing or how is it going.”

“No it’s not Daddy.”

“I’m pretty sure it is, cupcake.”, I reply, deciding immediately that this is neither the time nor place to introduce the concept of verbs into the conversation.

“No. I’m right, and you’re not Daddy.”

Perhaps weakly, I resort to the standard, “This would be a good thing to ask Mrs. X”.

Mrs. X being her teacher of course. The one person who can overrule whatever nonsense it is that Daddy tries to pawn off on her as knowledge.

Based on a multitude of similar conversations I’ve had with her in the past, this tactic usually works. Normally, I won’t bring it up again right away, but (hopefully) I’ll notice her slipping in the ‘well’ in place of the ‘good’ on her own accord.

Perhaps the job is just to plant the seed. All you can do is water it, care for it, and hope it grows.

Short Answers and the Fall of Civilization

December 12, 2006

Here’s the email I send to a client asking for confirmation on a couple of items (of course the names and subject matter have been changed to protect the innocent… and me):

Hi Zanzibar,

So it is full height jibberjabs and blickity blocks with a continuous 12×9 pinky-doo everywhere? Are blingitybings or additional rinkydinks required?

Thanks,

Richard Querin, P.Eng.

No fine work of literature to be sure. But it was simple and clear enough don’t you think? Here’s the response (via frickin’ Blackberry of course)

Yes

So is that a yes only on the jibberjabs, blickity blocks and pinky-doo? What am I to assume for the second part of the question?

Is this a result of PDA/SMS/Blackberry short cryptic notation syndrome? Where is the art of communication going? I read plenty of emails a day. You would think the proliferation of written communication would yield some improvement, but all it’s done is laid the problem bare for more to see.

I know, I know. Another grammar rant. But there wasn’t even a period on the end of that single word reply! But at least it was spelled correctly.

I must be going a little batty, because I actually enjoy reading the odd email that comes to me with full punctuation, correct spelling and some semblance of coherence and planning. It happens once or twice every couple of weeks (I swear – no more frequent than that). You have to enjoy them when you can.

Apologies for liberating the curmudgeon in me again. But somebody has to document the fall of civilization. Why not me? 😉