Thursday, March 1, 2012

How to Speak (Somewhat) Correctly

Grammar. Grammar is a beautiful thing. Grammar is a rule set for the composure of a particular language. The proper usage of grammar can make a fool look intelligent, and poor grammar can make a genius look like a moron. I was raised to appreciate the importance of grammar and, in turn, learned to use it properly (for the most part).
Sure, there are a few slip-ups that I will make from time to time. I'm quite guilty of ending sentences with prepositions. "A preposition is never what a sentence should end with." However, most of the time I speak and write with grammatical correctness in mind. As a result, when I come in contact with other people who do not use it, I become unreasonably bothered. Especially when people misuse cliches! You would think that a cliche would be universally grammatically correct because of its heavy usage, but unfortunately as cliches pass from person to person, the saying tends to change. Frustrating.
I have decided to use my blog for an outlet. A way to complain about poor grammar and a way to correct those who may not realize they are erring. I'll update this as I hear new cliches being spoken incorrectly. Also, I'm sure that I'll slip up myself at some point in the body of this post. Feel free to make fun of me if I did and missed it!

Let's begin now.

1. "Where in the hell are you?" or "Where the hell are you?"
Could someone hit the buzzer please? Both of these versions are used (at least in my experience) FAR more than the correct question. The question is asking where a person is located and uses the location of hell to be humorous. But one would be found IN hell. Therefore, "where "the" hell are you?" makes no sense! Would you ask "where the museum are you?" or "where the New York City are you?" Nope, I don't think you would ask those questions in that way. So don't say "where the hell are you" either!
And while "where in the hell" is technically correct, the "the" is not needed when using the name of a location. For example, let's use MacArthur Park as an example. One would not say "where in the MacArthur Park are you?" though saying so would not be technically incorrect. "Where in MacArthur Park are you?" is much more elegant. However, one would say "where in THE park are you?" when the name of the park is not used. In the case of hell, it is a specific name of a location and so the "the" is not necessary. The correct, grammatically correct question should be:
   "Where in hell are you?"

2. "For god's sakes" or "For god sakes" or "For god sake."
Take a moment and think about the construction of this phrase. What the person is supposed to be saying is "for the sake of god." Therefore, the above variations are wrong and make no sense. "for the sakes of god?" Nope. Makes no sense.
The other two have no possessive, which means that whatever they are doing is for "god sakes" or "god sake," which sound like locations or people. "We do this for our leader: God Sakes!?" Nope. "We do this for our leader: God Sake?" Nope. Not even close to the intended meaning, people! The correct statement should be:
    "For god's sake."
The same goes for variants of this cliche, such as "For fuck's sake."

3. "I could care less."
This one really bugs me. A person would say "I could care less" as a sarcastic and humourous way to express disinterest in something.
"Hey, want to learn underwater basket-weaving?"
"Nah, I could care less about that."
However, by one saying that one could care less about something, they are actually saying that it would be possible to care less than they do. While COULD care less gets the point across, it does not appropriately express the person's true and complete disinterest. The proper, most effective wording should be:
   "I couldn't care less."

More to come as I hear and become frustrated by them.

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