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?


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!

    • 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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