This is a comment that my friend and former roommate Vicki left on my last Grammar Geek Wednesday post:
In hopeful anticipation of tomorrow's edition of Grammar Geek Wednesdays, I have these offerings:
1. A new interpretation of I's: For some reason, my dad has decided that I's is a contraction of I was. He frequently says "I's talking to your Mom..."
2. Speed vs. Quickness: Have football commentators always been obsessed with "his speed and quickness" or have I just noticed this? During the next game I watch, I'm going to count how many times the commentators talk about players' "speed and quickness." Really, what's the difference?
3. Less vs. Fewer: No, Mr. Football Commentator, that player didn't actually have "less touchdowns" this season than last season, he had "fewer touchdowns." Enough said.
4. Apostrophes: One of my co-workers has decided that apostrophes are optional. Her favorite words to use in e-mail are Ill, Im, Id, and dont.
Yikes. First of all, that co-worker should be fired immediately. Do you want me to call her boss?
Second, I would say that football commentators are some of our nation's foremost grammar violators, apparently just after both of our dads. It's hard to tell anymore to what extent my dad's problems with grammar are real and to what extent he does it on purpose to irritate my mother. See, I get my grammar geekiness from my mom. And my obnoxiousness from my dad.
Seeing as how I started up there with a first of all, I'd like to address the word firstly. No. Just no. You can say first, secondly, thirdly or just go with first, second, third. But please, I beg of you, no firstly.
Similarly, we have the words irregardless and orientated. I saw Jon Stewart say irregardless one night and he immediately lost sexy points with me (I'm sure he regained them almost as quickly, but that is neither here nor there). See, regardless already means without regard, thanks to that -less at the end. There's no need to add ir-. And you get oriented, not orientated. I know, there's orientation, but that still doesn't mean that you get orientated there. I saw an interview once with Mrs. Fields (of cookie fame) who said that what had motivated her to make something of herself was when she told someone she was getting orientated and he corrected her rather rudely. Now, there is no excuse for bad manners, but you do see here how a grammar geek made the world a more cookieful place, don't you? Because had Mrs. Fields not been spurred on to start her cookie empire, we would have fewer cookies and thus, less joy.
Finally, here's something that had never occurred to me as a problem, but really bothered a friend and former boss of mine. We used to take students to the monuments and memorials in DC and we instructors would talk a lot about the quotes on the walls. This irritated Francine because, as she would tell us, quote is a verb. The words on the walls are quotations. I find this very insightful, mainly because I still use Francine as a reference when applying for jobs. (Hi, Francine! Please continue to say nice things about me to prospective employers!)
And now, my grammarian friends, what have you got for us this week? (If it's overuse of parenthetical remarks or sentences that, while not technically run-ons, are chock full of commas and so insanely long that by the end you can't even remember how they started, well then maybe you should make sure not to read yesterday's post.)