Posts Tagged ‘grammar


Fathers’ Day vs. Father’s Day vs. Fathers Day

Mothers’ Day, Mother’s Day, Fathers’ Day, Father’s Day…Golly, can I get worked up over punctuation.  There are also the punctu-naked (and typically British) options of Mothers Day and Fathers Day.  I get really up in arms over Mothers’ Day and its apostrophe; I am a bit more rational about the third Sunday in June.

I don’t know if it has to do with the societal role and expectations of mothers or my own situation, but I find Fathers’ v. Father’s v. Fathers Day much less personal than its maternal counterpart.  My guess is that it’s a combination of the two, with a dash of gender-driven emotion.  Honestly, the punctuation of today is not a frequent concern of mine – it’s more intellectual.

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Eventual Kids and Grammar

Some of my eventual-kid plans get inflicted on my current, not-my kids.  Case in point: grammar.  One of my biggest pet peeves is the syntax (which is generally poor) of children’s books and television.  I am not sure who thought it would be a good idea to take a group of people (because kids are people, yo) who are just learning language and model poor language.  Sounds like a recipe to make language learning even harder – like pronouns aren’t hard enough on their own.  Try to explain pronouns to someone with limited verbal skills and comprehension sometime.  For additional fun and frustration, assume that person has a maximum attention span of twenty seconds – void immediately if there’s a garbage truck sighting, candy nearby, or anything remotely shiny/sparkly catches their eye.

Boo and I rarely watch television, which takes care of that problematic influence pretty handily.  It’s hard enough for a toddler to figure out the first person, without shoving a furry red monster with a big orange nose and third-person speaking tendencies down their throats. I mean, yes, it’s an easy shove, but still: it’s hard enough.  I understand keeping the language basic, for comprehension, but basic doesn’t have to mean wrong

My solution is to change things; I do think I know better than the professionals.  Boo can’t read, and if he could, I’d be less concerned with his developing speech – if for no other reason than he had the language ability to read at two.  I’d read (ha) into that as him possessing some natural ability in that area of intelligence.  When I read to Boo, I change things.  A lot.  Since I’m consistent with my changes, he’s still unaware and doesn’t complain.  As a mental exercise for myself, I try to keep my changes true to the characters and their stories, and rhyming bits still rhyming.  (When I’m desperate, the latter involves two changes.)  I don’t know if there’s some sort of standard to amputate the –ly on adverbs in children’s books, but it’s pretty much an epidemic.  I religiously replace them.  I dutifully fix them. We might not watch Elmo on the tv, but the kid has a bunch of books about him.  Any Elmo read by me is a master of pronoun usage and speaks in the first person. 

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Happy Mothers’ Day (apostrophe location intentional)

My blog plan for today was to teach y’all about what I considered a common grammatical error: Mothers’ Day v. Mother’s Day.  I am firmly in the camp that the former has its apostrophe in the proper place.  I got myself all revved up to educate the masses and was collecting information to prove exactly how right I am and how wrong said masses are.  Unfortunately, it turns out that *I* am who one who is incorrect.  I don’t like that; I don’t like it one bit.  In addition to my general distaste at being “incorrect,” I think the convention is wrong – not just grammatically, but conceptually. 

Apparently when Anna Jarvis founded Mothers’/Mother’s Day her intention was for “each family to honor their own mother.”  I mean, that’s all well and good, but let’s step away from that isolated utopia and her early 1900s plans.  It’s a limiting and exclusive definition, particularly to a demographic (motherless folks) who often already feels excluded.  I was fortunate to have a great mom and it really blows that she is no longer physically here.  However, I am also fortunate in that there are other strong women in my life, to whom I can turn and who encourage me to grow and become a better person.  These women aren’t my mom, but they fill aspects of that role and some of the void.  Most are mothers, just not mine.  I think it’s bogus to suggest that I should neither honor nor thank them today.  I am not trying to devalue the horrors of childbirth; I am trying to value the love, kindness, and compassion inherent in mothering – particularly towards a child of choice.

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Update: Series Commas

My hooligan friend, referred to here, has seen the light and produced written bits (to me) using – gratuitously – the series comma.  I feel relieved, optimistic, and encouraged.

I feel like I saved a soul.  I am a Jehovah’s Witness for grammar, except not really.


The Series Comma

I love the series comma.  I am a punctuation whore in general, but favor the comma and semi-colon in particular.  Ampersands, hyphens, and tildes…Oh, to live within a set of parenthesis!  Isn’t enclosing words in such a set sort of like giving them a hug?  Words need love.  Words are worthy.

It boggles me that some people willing leave the penultimate items in series PUNCTUNAKED.  Commas are such fun and are hard to mess up; how could a person not want to use them as often as properly possible?  Sometimes I extend lists to three items, just for the opportunity to employ a series comma.  Perhaps that is wild, crazy, and excessive; I am comfortable with that judgment.  Heck, I accept, enjoy, and welcome that judgment.

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Bloody Plurals!

Bloody Mary or Cold Soup?

I recently met up with a couple of friends from undergrad, for a delicious brunch.  One of them possesses an amazing ability to seek and find amazing little places with some sort of unique feature – grape soda on tap, bacon toffee, amazing wine from a small island off Greece.  Pretty much anytime the foodie wunderkind suggests a place it’s prudent to get on board and this time was no exception.  We WALKED RIGHT IN to a table at this nice little establishment at 10am on a weekend.  Not usually a good sign, but I have that much confidence in her abilities to view it as another bonus about this joint.

The main draw of the locale was that they offer a number* of variations on both the Bloody Mary and the mimosa, which you can order individually – in two sizes – or as flights.  While we were hanging out and discussing our lives and our blogs, I was already debating what bits of our time to include in mine in my head…perchance something about it being “a morning of sparkles” – in our conversations, in our eyes, and in our mimosas.  Our many, many mimosas.  Unfortunately, as I’ve been working on the rehash I can’t seem to get beyond how the hell to make “Bloody Mary” plural. 

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Present Pontifications

February 2019
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Past Pontifications

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