We talk about grammar and spelling a lot in our house. I want my boys to know how to speak and write proper English, even though it is so common nowadays to abbreviate things, when thumb-typing. “K” means “okay,” “newhere” means “anywhere,””ne1” means “anyone,” and “RU” means “are you” (that’s far more obvious than newhere or ne1, but still…). I cringe when people use these types of abbreviations in business, as some of my younger colleagues do when IMing. I wonder, is it actually acceptable nowadays and I am just old? Or is it because many of the people I correspond with via IM are in other countries and perhaps it is customary to spell English phonetically? I don’t know. But I do know that my sons, who are native English speakers, with that being the only language they really speak even though my older two have taken several years of foreign languages in middle school, should be able to speak and write correctly.
My boys love to correct each other an me, if they catch me, which is fine, but I have told them it is not polite to correct other adults and they need to be careful about correcting their friends.
“Yeah, I can’t stand it when so-and-so says “lay” instead of “lie,” my oldest said.
“Don’t try to correct him,” I advised.
“Yeah, he never thinks he’s wrong,” my middle son chimed in.
I barely managed to control snorting my beverage out my nose. “You’re so right, honey!”
I remember being horrified when my oldest’s kindergarten teacher did not know when to use “lay” and “lie” (true, I still have to look that up if I am using the past tense, to avoid putting anything incorrect in writing). I would especially hope teachers don’t proliferate bad grammar, but they do, I have come to discover, throughout the years, since he is now in 8th grade.
Some people tell me I am being too critical, that why should a teacher be expected to have good grammar if they are not an English teacher? I have come to learn to move on. These are not the types of people with whom I should be discussing grammar
with. (See, I am not perfect, but I do care!)
I had a seventh grade science teacher actually write “youse” on the blackboard, as in “Hey, youse guys!” I just couldn’t respect him after that.
My other half challenged me recently on the difference between “may” and “might.” I realized I did not exactly know the difference (one denotes higher likelihood of something happening than the other), so I looked it up on my mobile device as we were driving. Imagine my thrill when I googled and found The Grammar Girl’s website. I am not alone!