Saturday, December 28, 2013

2014 - a year in which I desperately need to retake high school English

I'm 28 years old, and I've reached the point where I'm far enough removed from school that I've forgotten everything. Aside from that, there are the areas of life where my attitude gets positively geriatric - I've done my time doing things the right way, and I don't care anymore.  By golly, I will begin sentences with the word "and". I will add "ing" to the end of every noun, thus inventing brand new verbs. I will abandon the proper use of apostrophes! (Actually, not that last one. I consider appropriate apostrophe use a hill to die on.)


I hope I'm not the only one who struggles here. Based on my time spent on social networking, I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume I'm not alone. Maybe you can relate to some of my grammatical failings of 2013.

1. Sounding cray because I think dumb slang is hilarious.

This meme about sums up my life.













I'm in deep, friends. I latch onto the worst of the worst, and then I use these words and phrases for at least two years past even the "ironically funny" expiraton date. I recently exclaimed, "awesomesauce!" in a professional, business setting. I don't know how to stop, I need an intervention.


2. My use of the word "irony".

This is just about the only source of conflict in my marriage. When the new i101 radio station put Alanis Morisette's "Ironic" in frequent rotation, it could have been our undoing. (I exaggerate, but there is heated debate EVERY single time). My dear Aaron's standards for what constitutes irony are impressively high, while mine are... loose. Our conversations are something like this."

Aaron - "Rain on your wedding day is NOT ironic."

Me - "Fine. I'll give you that one, but 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife? Come on. Ironic. And Mr. Play It Safe's plane crashing when he was so afraid to fly? SO ironic!
Aaron - NO. Unfortunate, yes. Ironic, no. I just read that "ironic" is one of the most misused words in the English language. Right beneath "literally".
Me - You know what's ironic? Ombre hair.
Aaron - What?
Me - You know, my roots were growing out, so I literally just paid money to have my hair dyed to look like my roots were really, really grown out. Ironic. And stop it - I absolutely did use "literally" in the right context."  

We love each other a lot, but we will never agree on this one. (I actually know he's right, but shhh, don't tell him!) 


3. I can't decide what side I'm on in the Oxford comma debate, so I do whatever I feel like.

It hurt me a little bit to say that. I have utmost respect for the laws of the English language, and I hate to go all E.E. Cummings with punctuation. I really can't decide where I stand on this issue, though. I was taught to use the Oxford comma in school, but when I started doing medical transcription after high school, the company's policy was to not use it. Now I'm a conflicted hot punctuation mess (see #1).


4. Even 28 years into what I consider to be a fairly literate life, I would not venture to write the words "necessary" or "vacuum" without spell check. We all have our words. These are mine. I would love for 2014 to remedy this.

I can't wait to hear what grammar rules you're prone to forget! And take some time today to thank the dear Lord I'm not your child's teacher, because this is what I would teach them. Unless you're Aaron, in which case I AM your child's teacher. Whoops!

2 comments:

Greg said...

Erin has been trying for some time to figure out what, if anything, you two would argue about. I never thought it'd be the definition of the word ironic! And I'm sure Erin never thought Aaron would be right!

Actually - and you probably know how I am about words and grammar - what gets me is double-letter words like parallel. I'm constantly going, "it's got two of something!"

Jenni Koehler said...

We just won't tell Aaron, okay, Greg? :)

I can't decide which I dislike more, the word "vacuum" or actual vacuuming. Ironic, amiright? :) The double letter thing is my struggle. I can never remember which weird letter is doubled, so I just want to spell it "vaccuumm" to cover all my bases!