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Grammar phobia – Go Slow or Go Slowly?

January 16th, 2013 by Michael Tabor

Here’s just a quick little grammar blog. Go slow is perfectly grammatically correct, so is run quick, plunge deep, and seldom speak. I, was as so many of us were taught, that ALL adverbs end in “-ly”, however there are exceptions to the rule. Isn’t English grammar a bitch?
Lately, a lot of people have been “arguing against gun control”  Really ? You’re arguing with a “gun” ?    Lol
So WhaDaYaThink? What do you think ?

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A Speaker’s Worst Fear – Being Grammatically Incorrect; A Writer’s worst fear – Being Ungrammatical and Having Punctuation Errors

October 6th, 2011 by Michael Tabor
Do you put any stock in the title of this blog? Well, if you’re a writer or a public speaker, the title resonates loudly and clearly (I almost inserted loud and clear but I’m modifying the verb – resonates, so I need adverbs not adjectives). Additionally, If you are some sort of an authority on grammar or if you possess the distinguished title of a grammarian, the fear of making a mistake is even more resounding.  But why is this the case? Should we be this terrified of not constructing our sentences the way we ought to?   How about ending a sentence with a preposition like I just did in the previous string of words? I am tipping my hand but my real answer is fear – NO, care and consideration – YES.
Here is a shocking disclosure and revelation – WE ALL MAKE GRAMMATICAL MISTAKES! Even E.B. White, the ultimate authority on grammar and the author of “Strunk & White,” I’m sure would admit that he would blunder from time to time. Certainly, his miscues would be fewer than the average writer or even a great writer for that matter, but a mistake here and there I can assure you he made– no doubt. The truth of the matter is the English language, grammar, and syntax is: 1. prodigiously difficult 2. arbitrary 3. utterly confusing 4. and forever evolving and changing.
As a teenager and young adult, one invariably speaks and talks like his or her parents do. If your parents were well educated, spoke well, and deemed grammar as important, then you most certainly would follow suit and have a tremendous head start in life. (I know it stinks and it’s unfair but that’s life. It’s not unlike the “rich get richer” adage. ) If on the other hand you were like me, whose parents were poor working class folks ( I love my parents and I wouldn’t change places with anyone) then I’m certain you got less than excellent marks on your written assignments. Moreover, to further undermine your already low self – esteem, I bet your teachers, especially your English teachers whenever you opened your mouth, always corrected you.
My favorite paradox is “There are no absolute truths except that there are exceptions to every absolute truth.”  So, on a occasion you will find the youngster at a very young age who buries his face in books and looks up every word in the dictionary and breaks out of the “bad grammar” cycle. This scenario usually occurs when the uneducated parents scrape together their funds and send their children to private schools. Another possibility, so as not to stray from the topic of grammar, is that your parents may be well-off and still have bad grammar – for example the rich folks who own a welding facility or some other blue-collar establishment. In my case, it wasn’t until I was in college and majored in journalism that my grammar improved significantly.
Anyway, to end with the point I want to drive home, I’ll will conclude with the truism that – Grammar is supposed to facilitate the use of the English language not stifle it. So the better your grammar, the better you write and speak. The written and spoken word will be clearer, more lucid, more intelligible, and less ambiguous; and isn’t that what communication is all about – connecting with other people. And as for Punctuation, just think of it as traffic signs for readers; the pauses , tone, geatures and expressions, etc. – punctuation is just a matter of choice. A comma means pause, the period means stop and an exclamation mark emphasizes a crucial moment.
So whadaYaThink ? What do you think? My philosophy is if you can actually be clearer and more expressively lucid using less than perfect grammar and you have a unique and appealing style Like Jack Kerouac, then be ungrammatical. And if some pedantic, word-watching, snob chooses to look down his condescending nose, well  the grammarian is none the wiser. Just do it, do not be self-conscious, use your own style, and just remember that grammar exists to help you elucidate and clarify communication not hinder it.

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Elizabethan Expletives for Language Aficionados

July 26th, 2011 by Michael Tabor
As I have mentioned before in one of my earlier blogs, Whadawethink is branching out and adding another site on grammar. The domain name is grammarmarks.com and it will be up and running in another two months or so. I have just completed writing the eight parts of speech section (I haven’t published it yet) so we are almost there. Grammar could be quite dull at times but as we all know, it is essential in terms of becoming better readers and writers. Furthermore, we will try to make grammar fun and interesting by including the many curiosities of the English language. Here is just a tiny sample of what you will see along with the nuts bolts of grammar.  I think that we can all agree that interjections (very often are expletives) are the easiest, most enjoyable and quite frankly the zaniest part of speech. Here are some Elizabethan curse words or phrases:
Thou gleeking, flap-mouthed foot-licker!

Thou beslubbering, beef-witted baggage!

Thou quailing, motley-minded measley !

Thou cockered, clapper-clawed bugbear !

You beetle-headed, flap-eared knave!

What balderdash and poppycock !

You pribbling, ill-nurtured maggot-pie!

Are you shocked and insulted? – lol
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Grammarmarks.com is Coming Soon !

May 7th, 2011 by Michael Tabor

Whadawethink is adding another site on grammar. If you have a question or are unsure about whether or not your interoffice memo is grammatically correct, there’s only one place to go – grammarmarks.com (not ready yet)
One of our fun features will include difficult words or phrases of the day. Here is an example:

· Many people misspell the informal expression- “He’s a shoe-in (meaning sure winner) to win the election.” The correct spelling is shoo-in.
· “There are less people in the building.” This is incorrect – proper usage “There are fewer people in the building.”
The rule for the latter is if the noun is countable use few. If it is not countable like water or speed, use less.

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