Grammar Grumpiness and Giggles . . .

11454297503_e27946e4ff_hI love those crabby and humorous grammar sites that list the nuances and rarely recognized punctuation rules as reminders to . . . who exactly? Other crabby grammar soldiers who battle daily to right the incorrect use of homophones (specifically contractions) and proper comma placement.

While grading student work, I came across this sentence, “How does smoking effect the lungs?” I wondered, “Should I explain the difference between ‘effect’ and ‘affect’ to a 12-year-old non-native English speaker?”

  1. I couldn’t hold back:

The main differences of effect and affect are:

To affect something is to change or influence it, to effect something is a rather formal way of saying `to make it happen’. Confusingly, because either may produce an ‘effect’ or result this is a common error.

English Forums

2. Here are more grammar, vocabulary and punctuation observations, annoyances and appreciations. Many stem from interacting with more Australians and Brits at an international school:

  • End quotation marks:  Apparently, the British always put the punctuation outside of the quotes, whereas Americans were advised that when a sentence ends with a quote, the end punctuation is included inside the quotation marks.
    Example: Air quotes are the original low tech “memes of their day.”
  • Learnt: Americans, sub out the -ed for a -t in similar words to sound more British.
  • Heaps: Americans, use this word to sound more British or Australian.
    Example: I have heaps of quinoa that I found after a year of searching so decided to hoard it.
  • Full Stop vs Period: Americans, let’s start using Full Stop instead of Period, for obvious reasons.
  • Jumpers, lollies, brellies, brekkie, trollies, Chrissy, thongs . . . all adorable Australianisms. They’re even more adorable when you hear them in conversation with a grown Australian man.
    Example: “I left my wooly jumper in Adelaide since I now live in tropical Jakarta.”
  • Adverb abuse: Literally, Totally, Honestly, Hopefully, Exactly . . . Naturally
  • Healthy vs. Healthful
  • Evacuate: The Wire kicked off a controversy
  • I couldn’t care less: If you could care less, don’t mention it.

Do you have any favorite grammar, spoken language rants or appreciations to share?

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About jaclynfre

Tech integration specialist, recipe adventurer, fast walker, sporadic writer, aunt, sister and daughter
This entry was posted in international teaching, life and culture and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Grammar Grumpiness and Giggles . . .

  1. jaclynfre says:

    Even more adorable: One student just wrote me about our latest poetry analysis assignment, “What do you mean by fugitive language, Miss?” I guess, the flipbook we created together on metaphor, simile, onomatopoeia, alliteration, personification, hyperbole, and imagery did not register as “figurative language.”

  2. GirlGriot says:

    Love this! I tend to be one of those curmudgeonly grammar-philes, and this post really resonates for me. I still smile when I find myself in a grocery store that has express lanes for patrons buying “10 items or fewer” … just makes my heart happy!
    ~Stacie

    • jaclynfre says:

      THANK you, Stacie!! Thank YOU! Yes, that’s way past the “your / you’re” mix-up that we are forced to tolerate every day. What’s your thought on “thru?” I almost think that we should cave on this one. It just makes more sense. But texting language in formal writing? I’m still a NO!

      • GirlGriot says:

        I’m definitely opposed to text-speak in formal writing. Drives me crazy! Thru is tough. I agree with you that it’s easier. I just worry that giving in opens the door on “nite” and “lite” … and then we’re too far down the slippery slope for saving!

      • jaclynfre says:

        Yeah, “nite” and “lite” are unacceptable. However, using “lite” as the word for a food with some kind of dietary or caloric reduction may be acceptable because it’s a slightly fraudulent word that describes a slightly fraudulent condition of food. What do you think?

      • GirlGriot says:

        I love that! Slightly fraudulent food should definitely come with ckear markers!

  3. B says:

    This is hysterical and I loved each and every bullet point. In fact, I wish you would’ve kept going!!! What about jibe vs jive? Or supposably vs supposedly? It goes on ad infinitum… Thanks for the giggles.

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