Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Don't judge me.

Although I pride myself on having a pretty good grasp of the English language and perhaps know a bit more than your Average Joe about grammar, there are still many things that give me a great deal of difficulty. I get around most of them by conveniently avoiding their use. Here are some examples:

the former and latter: I kind of know which is which, but I'm not confident enough to use them without paper and pencil to draw myself a diagram.

Is it further or farther? Yes, I've seen the explanation in our paper's grammar column, but so far it hasn't stuck.

transitive/intransitive verbs: *shudder* I took this horrible class called "Problems in English Grammar" that was basically a graduate level class, but half the class was comprised of undergraduates (myself included). Most of the class, including the instructor, were foreign students. They kicked butt. I know I learned about these verbs, but it must have been somewhat traumatic, as I've long since forgotten.

Is it the bane or bain of one's existence? I know it's more spelling than grammar, but I'd still like to know.

This is she or this is her- when answering the telephone.. I avoid by saying "Speaking," or my favorite, "I'm sorry, she's not here right now. May I take a message?"- I like to do this when they are asking for me, but I know it's nobody I want or need to talk to.

lay and lie: I suck at these. I know that I very incorrectly say
"go lay down", when it should be "go lie down" (right?).

I know I struggle with other grammar (or would it be grammatical?) issues, but that's all I've got right now. I hope you all won't think less of me.


Blogger Mamacita (Mamacita) said...

This is she. The pronoun follows a linking verb and must be in nominative form.

A transitive verb is merely an action verb that takes a direct object.

"Lay" you do to something (or someone) else. (heh) "Lie" you do by yourself, to yourself.

It's "bane."

FARTHER denotes physical advancement in distance.

FURTHER denotes advancement to greater degree, as in time.

"Former" is the first of two mentioned or listed things; "latter" is the second.

I know you really did know these things. But thanks for letting me feel smarter than you for a minute. Usually, you're the master.

3/27/2008 10:01 PM  
Blogger Mrs. T said...

Mamacita- thank you for the very prompt and sage tutorial!
Does anyone ever really say "This is she?" I know people who misuse "I", as in "They gave it to her and I", when it should actually be "me", since it's a direct object instead of a subject pronoun.

3/27/2008 10:13 PM  
Blogger Sojourner said...

I struggle with the lay and lie thing all the time- just don't lie to me. Hee,hee.

3/27/2008 11:32 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

My mother-in-law still says "this is she." I avoid it, too - it sounds stuffy and uptight.

3/28/2008 5:27 AM  
Blogger NYC Educator said...

Further means longer, but not in distance. Farther, with any luck, is what you call the guy who marries your mother.

3/29/2008 11:42 AM  

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