March 14, 2003

N.B.: Here is the entry I thought I posted yesterday. Evidently I was wrong. And now I am woefully backed up, since I have both Tuesday and Thursday to make up. I’m not quite sure how I’ll manage this, but rest assured I will remedy the situation.

Last night, while catching up on blogs I read, I got to one that I have always secretly hated with a white-hot passion because I think it’s funnier than mine.

Then I caught not one but two grammatical errors in recent posts.

This filled me with an ineffable, almost palpable joy. He may be funnier than I am, but he is guilty of both hypercorrection (he used “whomever” when he ought to have used “whoever”) and a subject-verb-mood disagreement so egregious it could only have been committed by mistake or by a madman; either way, whether he’s careless or insane, I win.

Sometimes I think I should try to stop being so insecure and petty.

Then I see somebody I’m jealous of fail in a completely insignificant way and think, no, it’s too much fun to give up.

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20 Responses to N.B.: Here is the entry

  1. Tin Man says:

    Maybe this should be called blogenfreude

    By the way, why do you have to make up for Tuesday and Thursday? There’s no rule that says you have to blog every day.

  2. sam says:

    Errr, don’t you have a dangling participle in that last sentence? My, how the mighty fall…

  3. Technically, it’s not a dangling participle but ending a sentence with a preposition, a rule I choose to break in less formal communication because it’s based on the (misguided) belief that English should act like Latin, when in fact English is a Germanic language.

  4. Jeff says:

    Oh, I can’t stand the curiosity that’s bound to eat me alive. Do tell, who was the offending blogger?

    I would ask if it’s me, but that would be presumptuous. (And I know, I should say “I” instead of “me,” but since that fell out of everyday usage it sounds so pretentious now, even if it is grammatically correct.)

  5. octopus says:

    Also the “up” in “to give up” acts as part of the verb (see also Churchill’s “to put up with”). So torturously moving it in that Latin-fetish way would make the sentence sound ridiculous.

    “to give up” = “to surrender”
    “to put up with” = “to tolerate”
    “to screw up” = “to fuck up”

  6. Jeff, it wasn’t you. But I don’t want to embarrass the offending blogger by publicizing his name. Or, rather, I do, desperately, but I fear reprisals. And I agree with you about “I” vs. “me” in this case.

    Interestingly, Octopus, in German there’s a clear distinction between prepositions that are part of the verb (the combination is then called “untrennbar,” or “inseparable”) and prepositions that are, shall we say, less monogamously committed to the verb (those combinations are “trennbar,” or “separable”). English, alas, has lost this overt distinction but still retains it as part of the language. (Think about, for example, the difference between “bring in the chair” and “sit in the chair.” You can say “bring the chair in” but you can’t say “sit the chair in.” This is because “bring in” is the English equivalent of a separable verb and “sit in” is the equivalent of an unseparable verb.)

    Tin Man, thank you for blogenfreude. Or perhaps it should be spelled bloggenfreude?

  7. angelo says:

    Um, isn’t blogenfreude, like, a German car with, like, five wheels or something?


  8. Kyle says:

    I love this blog. I stayed up far too late last night reading it from the beginning. I can’t help but laugh out loud when reading about your escapades, and rarely, at least here in Texas, do I meet someone whose grammar I so admire. How did you learn so much? By the way, do you know the correct plural form of y’all? Thanks for the laughs and for sharing yourself with all of us.

  9. Kyle, thank you for the compliment. I learned so much by 1) having an obsessive fear that people will hate me if I make mistakes, 2) having a mother who had an obsessive fear that people would hate her if she made mistakes, and who was also a writer, and 3) majoring in linguistics in college.

    “Y’all” is actually already a plural. Standard American English, sadly, has lost the distinction between the second person singular pronoun and the second person plural pronoun–we used to have “thou/thee” for the singular and “you” for the plural, but, in a move, one suspects, towards greater efficiency, we abandoned “thou/thee” and thereby lost some rich possibilities. (Note that most Indo-European languages retain this distinction–French has “tu” vs. “vous,” German has “du” vs. “ihr,” and so on.) English has kept the distinction only in dialects (e.g. “y’all,” “youse guys”). The correct singular of “y’all” is “you.”

  10. And, Tin Man, I myself instituted the blogging once a day rule, when I returned after my hiatus. I know that others might forgive me for skipping a day, but I wouldn’t.

  11. EyesNY says:

    I’ve been admiring this blog, silently, for some time now, but this little interchange put me over the top. You’re a gift.

    Sure, some call it petty — but when it takes such ingenious form, I call it art.

  12. Kyle says:

    Oh Lord Faustus, although I would usually defer to Your Grammatical Greatness, the correct plural form of y’all is all y’all. 😉

  13. michelle says:

    my goodness faustus i hope you don’t read my blog. i make far too many grammatical errors.

  14. Jon says:

    I have to side with Kyle.

    The correct singular of “y’all” is, in fact, “y’all.”

    For another interesting Southern/Texan dialogue story, well, rather than take up your comment space, I am posting something in my blog…

  15. prncss says:

    Apparently saying “you and I” is also hypercorrcetion, although most people don’t know this or something. “You and me” is perfectly correct…and I have to say I agree with that. I mean I grew up saying “you and me” and all of a sudden now its “you and I”…weird.

  16. EyesNY, thank you for your admiration. Kyle and Jon, perhaps we can agree to disagree (and then secretly scorn each other for being in the wrong). Michelle, if you are a fan your grammar is automatically exempt from judgment.

  17. And “you and I” used as an object is of course awful. “You and I” as a subject is correct but often pretentious.

  18. Tina says:

    Being a born-and-bred Southerner, I’ve always said the plural of “ya’ll” as “all ya’ll” or “all of ya’ll”….
    Whether it is correct or not, I do not know… It’s just how we say it… 🙂

  19. Kyle says:

    Thank You, Oh Lord Faustus, for Your beneficent dispensation for those of us from the hinterlands and provinces. Of course, there are always two ways of looking at things – my way and the wrong way (my being used in the universal sense, of course), so I am more than happy to agree to disagree with one so magnanimous and merciful as You, or Y’all, as the case may be.

  20. hiram says:

    yall is plural. you is singular.
    Yes, no ‘ in yall.


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