These Are the Things That Keep Me Up At Night

I am bizarrely fascinated by pronunciation.

(Let us pause to absorb the geekiness of that previous sentence. Carry on.)

Sometimes the differences are endearing.  I love to hear my dear British friend Yvonne say "garage" to rhyme with "carriage". I think it's adorable that my dad puts another "L" in "alleluia" (he says "alleluLia"). It's great fun that Hubs and I have bickered for 15 years over the right way to say "thorough" (he says "THUR-oh", I say "THUR-uh") and "roof" (his rhymes with "aloof", mine rhymes with "hoof").

But I don't always find it entertaining; sometimes I climb up on my pronunciation high horse. I visibly wince when someone pronounces "realtor" as "REAL-it-or". (Side note: This weekend I spoke to a real estate agent, of all people, who didn't say it the right way. I bit my tongue and resisted the urge to shout, "RESPECT YOURSELF, MAN!")  My Republican heart cracked a little every time Dubya said "NOOK-yuh-lur". And back in my office days I had a boss who insisted on saying "fLustrated" instead of "fRustrated", and I may or may not have made faces behind his back.

Since I am entirely inconsistent in my pronunciation moral authority, I don't feel qualified to make a stand on the following issue: the "r" in February. I've always said "FEB-yoo-ary"; in fact, I have a vague memory
of being taught in elementary school that the "r" is supposed
to remain silent. More and more, though, I seem to be encountering people who say "FEB-roo-ary". (And it's not pretty.  I think "FEB-roo-ary" sounds a little like the speaker
just had some painful dental work done, but she still has Novacaine and Valium in her system.)

This site says you should include the "r", this one says you can keep it silent. I hope those r-sayers are wrong, because I think I'm too forgetful and stubborn to make the switch.

How do you say it?
http://www.blogpoll.com/poll/view_Poll.php?type=java&poll_id=179891Free Blog Poll

An Open Letter To Yankees Regarding Use of the Word “Y’all”

Dear Northern People (and yes, we really do call you "Yankees" behind your back, but we mean it in the nicest way possible),

It would appear that many of you are beginning to desire to add the word "y’all" to your vocabulary.  I do not blame you.  It is an excellent word, rich in culture, and full of practical application.  And we Southerners are gracious (MY STARS, we are gracious).  We will share this word with you happily, because we feel should not be discriminated against just because you did not have the good sense to be born in God’s Country.

So by all means, take our word "y’all" and use it with pride.  You are just as welcome to it as you can be.  But please, please, use it properly.  An improper "y’all" use is just a slap in the face of all we hold dear, and we cannot bear it.  Here is what you need to know:

1.  "Y’all" is never, ever, ever, EVER singular.  It must refer to a group.  If you refer to one person as y’all, then, I’m sorry, but we can hear your Yankee-ness loud and clear.

2.  Even if you have a thick New York accent, you must attempt to say "y’all" with a southern accent.  "Y’all" spoken with a northern accent just does not work.  Go ahead, throw yourself into it: YA-A-A-AWL.  Please pronounce every one of those A’s.

3.  You may hear your Southern friends say "all y’all".  This is perfectly acceptable for native Southerners.  If you are a transplant, tread carefully.  In order to pull off "all y’all", you have to have some heritage behind you.

4.  Conversely, do NOT use "y’all guys."  It is just wrong.  And when you leave the room we will laugh at you, but we will be sure to tack on a "bless his heart" at the end.

5.  Let us discuss the spelling.  "Y’all" is a contraction of "you" and "all".  Therefore, the apostrophe MUST go in the place of the "ou".  It is "y’all".  Not "ya’ll".

6.  Be prepared.  If you adopt our fine word and go back home to your northern friends and family, they will give you great grief for sounding like a hillbilly.  Bear up, my friend–it is a burden we Southerners have borne for years.  Be comforted that your new word brings with it the brilliant heritage of Faulkner and O’Connor.  And also cheese grits.

I Love You All, Even Though You’re Dead Wrong

Hm.

Well.

Who knew so many of you pronounced it THUR-oh?  I’m a THUR-uh girl myself, even though Lisa said "I envision ‘thur-uh’ coming out of the mouth of a man named Jim Bob Billy as he is sitting in front of an old gas station with a piece of straw hanging out of his mouth."

Seeing as how I grew up around people named Jim Bob Billy who sit in front of gas stations, I suppose this would explain things. 

But really and truly, without a bit of sarcasm (OH, not a BIT) I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for participating so enthusiastically in a survey that publicly proves me wrong in a 14-year-old debate with my husband.  Oh, he’s just going to be a peach to live with tonight. 

Thoroughly Hopeless

Four children, three states, four mortgages, 427 bouts of stomach viruses and even more episodes of tearfully bad hair coloring (mine, not Hubs)…and I think my marriage may have finally encountered the deal-breaker*:

Is the word "thorough" pronounced THUR-oh or THUR-uh?

(And no, do not tell me how the dictionary says to say it.  Tell me how you say it.  And no, I won’t tell you which one is mine and which one is Hubs’, except to tell you that mine is the right one.)

http://www.blogpoll.com/poll/view_Poll.php?type=java&poll_id=144001

*I jest, of course.  We are absolutely, totally, geekily, happily, grammatically in love.  There are no deal-breakers in this marriage.  Though if there were one, it would probably be related to bad pronunciation.  I’m just sayin’.

Works For Me: I vs. Me

WfmwsmallYesterday I wrote about containerizing Pop Tarts, and today I’m writing about proper grammar.  I’m not sure when I became the scary, nerdy librarian of the blogosphere, but evidently I have passed the point of no return.

Y’all know how I love good grammar, and there’s a simple tip to avoid a common grammar pratfall (I have to use this one all the time). 

When you’re writing or speaking about yourself and another person, it’s easy to mix up the personal pronouns.  For example, "Janie and I" or "Janie and me".  Which one do you use?

Just take out the "Janie and", leaving you with only the personal pronoun.  The one that sounds the most natural is almost always the right one.  Here’s an example:

Janie and me found a great bargain yesterday.

Take out "Janie and".  You’re left with "me found a great bargain yesterday."  Unless you are a caveman (with impressive shopping skills), you know that sounds awkward.  So it should read

Janie and I found a great bargain yesterday.

Let’s move it to the end of the sentence:

That fabulous sale was meant for Janie and I.

Again, take out "Janie and."   Would you say "That fabulous sale was meant for I"?  Of course not.  So the sentence should read

That fabulous sale was meant for Janie and me.

It’s a quick little short-cut that works for me, all the time.  And it probably already works for many of you as well (really, I do not mean to insult the intelligence of my fellow grammar lovers–I know there are many of you, and I adore you to the very core of my conjunctive participle). 

Have a WFMW tip you’d like to share with the blogosphere?  Leave your link below.  Remember to look through the guidelines, especially if this is your first time to participate.  As always, thanks for playing along!

1. Ronnica (Manage To-Do List)
2. OW (homemade play dough)
3. ellen b
4. Alli- Mrs fussypants (Funny How to NOT ruin your marriage! ;))
5. Tiffany (Homemade donuts)
6. Lana G – EASY COOKIES
7. Britni (Remembering to bring things)
8. Rookie Mom (Free Coupons)
9. Christy (Money Saving Advice)
10. Sarah@RealLife (weight loss)
11. Jill (cleaning your bathroom)
12. Peggie( uses for “brown” soap)
13. Dawn( Store Plastic Bags Better!)
14. Peggie(breakfast pizza)
15. MamaGeek (Digital Camera Choices)
16. Sarah K (Target & coupons)
17. Homeschool Help Web (taking turns)
18. Jes(coping with a small kitchen)
19. Vickie @ Pursuing Simplicity(Teens and Movies)
20. Shalee (Super Easy Super Bowl Pizzas)
21. Ornery\’s Wife (Remembering Ideas)
22. Karen (Blogger – get more comments)
23. Karla ~ Looking Towards Heaven (How to help someone in need)
24. Beth@TheNaturalMommy (Boing Boing Noises)
25. Many Little Blessings (Picture Decorating Idea)
26. jen (winter gear)
27. Grocerty Cart Challenge (Save $50 Per Month On Your Grocery Bill)
28. Devildogwife (organic food coupons)
29. chilihead (cheap craft cloths)
30. Rhen (yestheyareallmine!!)
31. Greenstylemom (old laundry in washer)
32. margalit (cat FUS)
33. Smockity Frocks (Warming Baby\’s Bed)
34. Tina in Thailand (less sugar)
35. Lisa, The Correspondent (Math Tricks)
36. LeeAnn (AKA Frazzmom) quick change for crib sheets
37. NerdMom(Left Over Meat Tip)
38. Mrs Pear (Freezer scones)
39. Mom Is Teaching (cleaning and decluttering)
40. Daiquiri (Frugal Family Fun)
41. Stretch Mark Mama (Kids\’ Memory Work)
42. Womanly Pursuits (serving your hostess when you have dietary restrictions)
43. Lora Lynn – Toddlers Helping Mommy
44. Katie @ Endless Day (Introducing a new sibling to a toddler)
45. Summer@Wired For Noise (smoothie recipe)
46. Not the Queen (easy wall decor)
47. lizzykristine (easy html)
48. At A Hen\’s Pace (sew your own Robeez baby shoes)
49. Barbara H. (Wreath storage)
50. Infinity Goods (multi-tasking)
51. Tamara (getting little ones to sleep)
52. Allison (ebay selling tips)
53. Jasmine31 ( Ask for a discount! )
54. Lori ~ Simple Life at Home (Talk Free to Anywhere in the World)
55. Autumn Daisy (Uni
que Invitation Idea)

56. MooBeeMa (Rock Hard Abs While You Blog!)
57. Christa @ No End in Site (Cheapskate humidifier)
58. NerdMom(Ebates)
59. Mindy (weight loss)
60. Ann Kroeker (love those lentils!)
61. ~Amy (bread bowls)
62. Mommy Cracked (Organize Your Whole Life!)
63. DomesticallyBlissed (organized gift wrapping)
64. Lisa (cheap chip clip)
65. Staci (making extra cash)
66. TNS (floors the easy way)
67. Mamabug (Scrub a tub, Bub)
68. Jenn @ Adventures In Poop (baby packing tip)
69. Abbey (Reducing Trash)
70. Duckabush Blog (Tea Party Craft)
71. JoAnn (Toy Storage)
72. Mommy-fied (Easy Chicken Stew)
73. Robin (red tea)
74. LammyAnn
75. Pookieville (Migraine relief)
76. LammyAnn (repairing link and giving a title! Whoops!)
77. Michelle at Scribbit (Charm Strings and Valentine Ideas)
78. Q&Q (cooking chicken)
79. Susan(HowNotToWakeBaby&Hubby)
80. Dena\’s Deliberations (Technological Marriage Help)
81. It Coulda Been Worse (Makeup Brushes)
82. Liza\’s Eyeview (Healthy Snacks)
83. Naomi (Get the cleaning done 10 x faster!)
84. Nadine (how to size images)
85. Organising Queen (easy timer & blog giveaway question)
86. Trixie @ Farm Home Life (finances)
87. Edi(get kids brushing teeth)
88. Mrs. Who (Toy Storage)
89. Debbie J. (store brands)
90. Multi-Tasking Mommy (Make your own cleaning solutions)
91. citystreams (teacher trick)
92. Michelle@GotchaBaby (kids clothes)
93. Georgia Mom (bathtub toys)
94. Jacki (Storing/Sharing Kids Artwork)
95. The Thrifty Blogger
96. Melissa Markham (Devotions and Giveaway)
97. Jennifer, Snapshot (Cheap Airfare)
98. GettysburgMom-Easy Way to Marinade
99. Mrs. G (more peaceful house)
100. The Not Quite Crunchy Parent( Free Stuff With Freecycle)
101. Amy @ Hope Is the Word (scripture memorization video keepsake)
102. Stop the Ride! (save on tax prep)
103. Cyndi, One Day More (an easy workout)
104. Jacquelyn: Because I Said So! (taking notes in the car)
105. Tracy (Go On… Save a Cabinet!)
106. Laura@HeavenlyHomeMakers (host a valentine mystery dinner)
107. Tickled Pink (GOOG-411)
108. Jack\’s Mommy (Household Budget Notebook)
109. Briggie (conversion chart)
110. fullheartandhands mama (Very Easy Homemade Pizza Crust)
111. Mommin\’ It Up! (backwards, hep with infant car seat
!)

112. Beth@I Can Fly (Freeware for Memorizing Verses)
113. Miranda(soy sauce substitute)
114. Dawn @ Baby Addiction (How To Talk To Boys)
115. Llama Momma (cooling oatmeal)
116. Lorraine (Don\’t Squeeze the Charmin)
117. Jenny from Chicago (Scrub brush substitute)
118. Julie Stiles Mills
119. Coralie (baby footwear that never falls off)
120. Mama Says (Feed a crowd, under $5)
121. Jendeis (Spelling)
122. Sonshine(1st one-laundry system)
123. Scott (Giant Vomit Bowl)
124. Thia (stinky laundry)
125. Kim (Making tea by the pot)
126. Erin (help selling car)
127. Ames (home repair rescue)
128. Veggiemom
129. Capturing Today (game pieces)
130. Braun Family Circus (discipline technique)
131. Amy (getting vaseline out of fabric)
132. a suburban housewife (sharing a meal)
133. Saph -using coupons
134. Megret (no more late cards or bills)
135. Momala (Lego table)
136. Like I Was Saying (Missing Socks)
137. Linda(cloth napkin to cleaning rag)
138. jennifer Candy heart projects
139. Amy (baby vomit control)
140. Kathy Days (laundry miracle, sort of)
141. Becky (The Very Best of the Internet)
142. Mrs. Troop (No More COUGHING)
143. Jenn (keeping cookies fresh)
144. LaRee @ Broad Horizons (Daddy Time)
145. Amy (free stickers)
146. Brandie (Make the arguing STOP)
147. momrn2 (no more frozen water)
148. Beth (tax time)
149. Dawn (Easy Overnight French Toast)
150. Hotomom (My Pillow)
151. Petersonclan (Urinary Tract Infection)
152. Missy (quick fix meals)
153. Clappy Shoes-netiquette
154. Jordan @ MamaBlogga (find a blog designer)
155. Elizabeth @ Homeschool Mommy (Static-y Hair)
156. Kristen M. (Kid\’s Book/Fun Project)
157. Feminine Pursuits (Essential Oils)
158. Teddi (Cake Mix Extender)
159. Texastanya (Milk)
160. lisa (Best Sports Bra)
161. Heidi (kids chores/allowance)
162. Kendra (Supper Clubs)
163. My Twenty Cents Keeps Moving (auditioning for kids\’ plays)
164. Sandi (freezer/make-ahead meals — link)
165. Kirstin: consignment stores
166. Liss (homemade household cleaners)
167. Ginkgo100 (taming the litter box)
168. Sarah @ Ordinary Days (Yummy Hummus)
169. Charity (cleaning bathroom mirror)
170. Sarah (recipe, great for new moms)
171. Kaci (getting coats on)
172. GP
173. Jenny (food chopper)
174. Jennifer in OR(healthy deodorant)
175. Erin (family game night)
176. Hollie( the good food box)
177. Rachel (faux fire)
178. Margaret
179. Cindy (Amazing Bathroom Makeover-the real link)
180. Babychaser (Getting your Toddler to eat)
181. Sarah (Free Books)
182. Nichole
183. Nikke (sharing a closet)
184. Suzof7 – google calculator
185. Alanna (bra size A)
186. Mamacita (cute bargain gift bags)
187. Laura @ Laura Williams\’ Musings (Menu Planning, Shopping Lists, and Pantry Inventory)
188. Alana (Reading w/ kids)
189. Chanelireli (How to occupy a preteen and a preschooler)
190. Amy@P2P (frugal tip)
191. BRC Banter (Free scrapbooking supplies)
192. Candace(doctoring pictures)
193. Jamie/penguinsandladybugs (keeping up with your WFMW tips)
194. Sarah (get rid of smells)
195. Shannon @ A Reforming Mom (How to put on a bracelet one-handed!)
196. Babychaser (Signing with your Little Ones)
197. Angela- (Easy and Effective exercise!)
198. Emily (Simple Scrap-booking)
199. Kathy (quick cleaning for guests)
200. Audra (Makeup Mess Up Fixes)
201. Jeni- link was deleted! (creating a closet)
202. Jen Smith (Easy, healthy meals)
203. Amanda
204. Valerie at Home (organizing art supplies)
205. Rain\’s Musings (home remedies)
206. Linda ( best cleaning tip)
207. MamaToo
208. Shaun Groves
209. Princess in Boyland (photos of sets)
210. SAHMmy Says (free photobook offer today!)
211. The Nourishing Gourmet-hearty quinoa cookies
212. Proverbs 31 (stain remover)
213. AmyG (Cleaning under fridge)
214. Caroline
215. Digital Daydreams (ploppers)
216. Ashlyn (Get Boogers Out!)
217. Rag-Tag Believer (marinades & gravy)
218. The Garveys (jump start with Natl Frugality Week ideas)
219. Laane (flashlight near door)
220. Cyn (a silly car safety tip)
221. Denise -Organizing Digital Photos
222. Jo Gram (metoo!)
223. Sarah (weight loss accountability!!!)
224. Seis (Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers)
225. Brandi (Candle Wax Removal)
226. Abbi (living room organization)
227. Amanda (No More Formula Can in the Diaper Bag!!)
228. Susan (excess orange storage)
229. Sarah (Learning Right and Left)
230. Jenne (Sibling Arguments)
231. Jennifer (handmade baby tag blanket)
232. Christine (three tips for taking great pics of your children)
233. Hollie@CheaperthenCheap (Volunteering)
234. Christine (dry socks fast)
235. Christine (dry socks fast)

Powered by… Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets.

Links are now closed! Please join us next week.

Grammatically Speaking

This post was originally published on August 29, 2006.

My mom is an English teacher.  "Ahhhhh," you’re saying, "NOW I get it."

I grew up in a rural Arkansas town where poor grammar is as much a part of life as Friday night football.  Combine the two, and you had the weekly chant from the stands, as the refs carefully measured a play, "MOVE THEM CHAINS!  MOVE THEM CHAINS!"  Not my mother.  She instructed my brother and me that oh-yes-ma’am our family chants, "MOVE THOSE CHAINS!  MOVE THOSE CHAINS!"  We stood out a little, but around our house, it was appropriate to fall on your sword for good grammar. 

And it rubbed off on me, definitely.  The most romantic thing that happened to me in adolescence was a secret admirer who, for a period of a couple of weeks, covered my ’78 powder blue Pontiac Grand Prix with flowers overnight, every night, as it sat in our driveway.  The first morning, when my mother and I dashed out to investigate, we snagged the note that was tucked under the windshield.  It read,

Shannon,

These are for you; I hope you enjoy them. 

E.B.T.

My mother and I, equally giddy, looked at each other and squealed, "HE USED A SEMI-COLON!"

So it should come as no surprise that my sweet Joseph crawled into my lap sniffling last week.  "Mom," he whimpered, "I hurt my toe badly." 

"Oh, sweet boy," I said, rubbing his foot.  "I’m so proud of you for using an adverb."

Works For Me: Its vs. It’s

I’m not a grammar snob, really.  Okay, so maybe I’m just a little bit of a grammar snob.  Teeny tiny.  Just on the big grammar doozies, like your vs. you’re and I vs. me and OH-FOR-THE-LOVE-OF-PETE its vs. it’s.  I’m sorry, y’all, but it’s time for the bloggers of the world to unite and master it/it’s.  I see it done incorrectly on blogs all the time, (including, ahem, my own, when I’m proofreading). 

Here’s my little trick to help me remember the right way to do it:

Imagine that the little apostrophe is the letter i.  Therefore, when you write it’s, you are writing it is.  When you are writing its, you are using the possessive form of the word (as in, "Shannon’s blog has reached its highest level of control-freakishness now.") 

Works for me!

For more riveting grammar advice, check out Dr. Grammar. I love this stuff!

If you’d like to share your advice with Blogland, please link below! 

http://www.blenza.com/linkies/autolink.php?owner=rocksinmydryer&postid=22Aug2006