Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Whelp/Welt

I've been wanting to write about this little annoyance for a few weeks now.  I hear it all the time and bite my tongue to keep from correcting everyone.  Many people use the word whelp when they mean welt. A whelp is a puppy or cub.  To whelp is to give birth.  I believe dog breeders still use the term whelping box.  A welt is a red mark or raised area of skin from being struck or stung.  A welt does not whelp up

These words have nothing to do with one another, except for sounding a little alike. I understand that some non-standard English is acceptable in everyday conversation, but it bothers me that many Americans, apparently, don't know their own language well enough to realize there is a difference.  I want to scream every time I hear it! Am I a grammar Nazi? Yup.  I live with it and try not to irritate other people by correcting them.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Misused Words

Many words are often misused or confused with others that are similar.  Some of these are seen often on the internet - social sites, blogs, forums, etc. (By the way, sites is one of those words). 

Site is used for a website or a work site; whereas, one cites a reference in a paper or a person for recognition.

Another example is the dreaded there/they're/their.  There primarily designates a location; they're is the contraction of they are; and their is a possessive pronoun.

My house is over there.
They're coming to my house.
They're going back to their house.

A similar example is the use of the possessive your, rather than you're.  I see this one frequently in texts, instant messages, Facebook, and forums.  Ex: your coming to my house, right?  I growl and want to correct the person every time I see it.  I even had a hard time writing that sample sentence.  I know many people use it because it's shorter, but really, it is only two characters more to use the correct word.  Yes, I am one of those annoying people that types out nearly every word in a text.  I only start abbreviating if my message is running on to two or three texts before I'm done.  But if you've ever recieved a text from me, you could understand it, couldn't you?

Another group of words that are commonly misused is right/write/rite/wright.  Right can designate a direction, but is also a synonym for correct.  Write probably the least misused of this group.  If you need a definition of that one, you're in big trouble.  A rite is a ritual, such as a rite of passage.  A wright is the maker of something, such as a wheelwright.  How many knew that last one?

I could go on for pages with other misused words.  These are some common ones.  I'm sure I'll think of others to write about another time.  English is a language that is both fascinating and irritating because of its complcated rules.

Monday, April 2, 2012

To Be...Or Not

One of my greatest pet peeves is people leaving out the "to be" verb when they speak.  They may say, "It needs washed," or "The dog needs walked."  It looks and sounds so wrong, but I hear it often in Oklahoma.  I wonder if this is a regional tendency, or whether people in other parts of the country drop the poor "to be" as well.  Is it more economical to leave out those two words?  The meaning and intent are still conveyed, but these are very short words that don't take long to say. 

People, please don't sacrifice the "to be" in order to say what you want to say just a little bit faster!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

1 April 2012

This is my first attempt at writing a blog.  I wanted a place to express my frustrations with the seeming degredation of the English language.  Every day, I hear people misuse words and sentence structures.  Signs with grammatical or punctuation errors make me cringe!  I certainly do not claim to have perfect grammar, but my mother drilled it into me throughout my schooling. (Thank you, Mom!)  Because of her, I love grammar and spelling!  So, here are my thoughts on the subject.