Trying to Sound Smart

Want to sound smart or want to be smart?

I remember when I was six years old and I wanted to sound just like my mama. I wanted to sound “grown up.” I would go around the house repeating what she said, so I could sound smart, but I would get it all mixed up. When I wanted to say “shirt” and it came out “shit,” though, that was the final straw. My mother sat me down and told me in no uncertain terms that if I couldn’t tell anyone the meaning of the word then I couldn’t say it. So that was the end of my career of swearing until much later in life.

However, I did take what she said to heart, which is when I started trying to read the dictionary. Continue reading “Trying to Sound Smart”

Grammatical Faux Pas

Grammar! Grammar! Oh yeah!

A friend of mine challenged me the other day over my use of the word “less” when I really meant to say “fewer.” When I looked back it in stark black and white there was honestly no way I could defend my position, and I felt beyond embarrassed. For me, an English teacher, who knows all of the rules, to blatantly demolish one because I was tired when I wrote the phrase was an untenable position. I immediately deleted it and hoped no one else had seen the horror that was my grammatical faux pas. But we are all human. Here are some of the more egregious grammatical faux pas I have seen and heard: Continue reading “Grammatical Faux Pas”

Dueling Dialects

I remember the first time my wife heard me speaking on the phone with my mother. Her mouth was on the floor by the time the conversation was over, and I couldn’t quite figure out why. For the entire second half of the phone call I kept shooting her looks that meant, “What’s the deal?” … Continue reading Dueling Dialects