Monday, May 14, 2007

The Grammarian, I.

In the interest of bucking up the English language, I herewith launch a new occasional blog label, "The Grammarian." But fear not, ye grammatically challenged! I shall begin with a mea culpa: My own grammar in the previous post was fundamentally flawed. Can you see where? Behold the title, "A Prayer for Mother's Day." Now this is a bit tricky, because one could conceivably mean to call the second Sunday in May the day set aside for "mother," in which case the placing of the apostrophe would be proper, that is, as "mother's," that which pertains to mother. On reflection, however, it would appear that the day is meant to honor mothers, plural, and is therefore more properly called "Mothers' Day."

Thus I begin this blogging branch on my own error, and seek to build up rather than to tear down. Good grammar begets good manners. It also does wonders for sermons.

So, for starters, let us all agree to the following points:

One does not lay down to rest, unless he indicates what he is to lay down. Otherwise he lies down to rest.

One does not say, "I could have came," unless he is perhaps pondering how nice it would be to have a stained glass window in his foyer, with its grooved bars of came, the lead used to hold the pieces of glass in place.

Heighth is not a word.

One ought never pour over a document, because then it would get all wet. But some documents are well worthy of poring over.

One does not refer to himself as "myself" unless he is the subject of the sentence. To illustrate, it would be incorrect for me to say, "This grammarian blog is good for myself as well as for others." No, "it would be good for me." But then, it would be correct to use the reflexive pronoun thus: "I have written this blog for myself as well as for others."

One does not say "literally" unless he really means it.

OK, that's enough for starters. Be advised: The Grammarian is on the prowl.


Carl Vehse said...

It's "nuclear" and "radionuclide", not "nukular" and "radionucleyide".

The mispronounciation is grating when is comes from a former nuclear submarine officer, a Harvard MBA, and, especially, people in government organizations dealing with nuclear energy.

Father Eckardt said...

Reminds me of the time Homer Simpson corrected his daughter with "That's nucular, Lisa, nucular."

And speaking of literally, just today I received a newsletter advertising a treatment that claims to the mind sharp. It says (I am not making this up), "The Results Will Literally Blow Your Mind!" Hmmm, I'd stay away from that treatment if I were you. Next thing you know, there will be brain fragments scattered all over the carpet.