December 17, 2008

The Way to a Girl's Heart through her grammar.

It beats a little faster when I meet someone who always knows the difference between "insure" and "ensure."

I breathe a little more heavily when apostrophes are all in their places and only their places.

My cheeks flush when someone knows to use "whether" instead of "if."

My toes curl at the proper use of semicolons.

I bite my lip over someone who never puts "less" in the place of "fewer."

We won't even talk about what happens when I see "try to" instead of "try and." No, no we won't.

Or maybe I'm still sick and need to go crawl back into bed. I think I'll take a good book with me. Good night and good grammar, all.


Juniper Shoemaker said...

Guess what? ME TOO!

Ambivalent Academic said...

Ooooh! Me too! Although I admit to butchering some finer points of grammar when intoxicated.

My biggest grammatical turn-on? Subject-verb agreement concerning "data".

It's "these data are..." or "these data show..."

NOT "this data is..."


You'd be surprised at how many scientists(!) balls this up. A part of me dies inside every time.

But oh, to hear someone who gets it right, every time. This is bliss.

ScientistMother said...

ooh, i'm so bad at grammar, especially when I'm trying to get post out while managing the bad.

Stephanie Zvan said...

ScientistMother, I didn't mean it that way at all. I'm much more concerned with what people are saying than how. It's just that when I get both...mmm, yum.

AA, confession time: I have too much fun tweaking "data are" people. I know how it works, but just about everyone who gets it right twitches so reliably if I do it wrong. It's evil, I know.

Juniper, I just knew you were going to say that. :)

Anonymous said...

You'd be surprised at how many scientists(!) balls this up.

Actually, I'm surprised that any scientists care. The science of linguistics tells us that "data is" is correct and has been for a long time.

Read this.

Anyway, we speak English, not Latin. "Opera" and "agenda" are also Latin plurals that have become singular in English.

Stephanie Zvan said...

Anonymous, to the extent that linguistics is pursued scientifically, it tells us that English is not a single language. Many words that behave one way on the street behave very differently in the lab. No reductionism needed or desired.