A Whole Nother Blog Post

I feel ashamed and rather reluctant to admit it, but I am indeed what people classify as a Grammar Nazi.  There is an unparalleled joy that I receive from reading a piece of prose with flawless grammar, and also an unparalleled anger that bubbles inside of me when I spot an error in a published novel (I mean come on, these things go through rounds of editing, don’t they?).

That being said, I am not claiming perfection.  I know firsthand how easy it is to miss a typo or to forget a comma in a paper.  But, there are a few grammar flaws for which I show no mercy:

The use of ‘these ones’ and ‘those ones’ instead of ‘these’ or ‘those’

  • I must have inherited my hatred for these two phrases from my mother, seeing as this is her biggest pet peeve.  My skin crawls whenever I hear someone, especially a professional use the phrase because it in unnecessarily wordy and definitely not grammatically correct.  I once came across the phrase in a book and refused to read the rest (yeah, I’m that serious about it).

‘A whole nother’… what the heck is a ‘nother’? Another whole is more like it.

  • Just as I am typing out this blog post, that irritating red squiggly line has made its mark beneath the word that I hesitate to type again.  “Nother” is not, nor should it ever be, accepted by the dictionary.  It is not a quantifiable amount and it is most certainly not a recognized word in the English language.

On the other hand, I could go on and on about aspects of grammar that I love.  For the sake of your time and sanity, though, I will stick to just one. The comma.  I love the comma key more than any other key on the keyboard and more than any other character on the page.  Commas make writing sound like speaking, and that is why I appreciate their presence so much.  They may be small, but their presence is significant.  You, comma, will always hold a special place in my heart.

Textual Healing

My love affair with the semicolon began back in my high school days.  I had already learned about the saucy minx in middle school, though I had yet to learn just how saucy and minx-ish she (because that curvy figure and sense of mystery could only belong to a lady, let’s be real) could be.

It was in my freshman Introduction to Literature class; our teacher had decided to spend a day going over common grammar errors, and had just opened up the floor for questions when it happened.  One student asked if we could please go over that “half-comma-half-dot-thing.”

Teach responded with “Oooh yes, the sexy one.”  And wrote the following sentence on the board:

“I ate the whole pie; I barfed.”

Rawr.  Am I right?

She then went on to explain that the reason semicolons are so very sexy as follow: they join two independent clauses in a snuggly, intimate relationship.  That’s hot, right?  I mean, I say that as a fiercely independent little bookworm, so I suppose that it stands to reason verbal four-play (or, if I may, textual healing) between two self-aware subjects might turn me on.

That being said,  I hate commas.

Commas are like my least favorite people: so indecisive!  You can use them in far too many ways: linking dependent clauses, appositives, lists…I don’t see why they can’t just take a leaf out of the semicolon’s book and find one path and stick to it.  Also, they enable dependent clauses to continue their reliance on perfectly lovely independent clauses; and if that’s not messed up, I don’t know what is.  I mean, come on, dependent clauses!  Go find yourself!  Get an ankle tattoo, travel to Europe, try spending more by yourself, just do something besides leaning on independent clauses for personal validation.  And commas, quit allowing them to live such an incomplete life.

You sicken me, commas.

But even though commas are terrible and I still forget how to use them from time to time, I can live with them.  Though that’s largely due to the fact that I have semicolons in my life; they get me through tough times.