Writing

How to Use Proper Grammar

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Sike! I bet you thought this was going to be a post full of fairly useful tips on how to properly make use of grammar, complimented by sarcastic remarks. Nope! Just Chuck Testa. I considered writing a post of a similar nature, ranting about the lack of proper grammar by those who Facebook, Tweet, write blogs, and do whatever else people do on the internet. Then I realized the monumental task that I would be putting myself to, and I decided to reduce the condescension levels that means I’ll be nicer and, instead, write about the importance of grammar. 

Of course, I make my share of mistakes in this blog. You can probably even find errors in this post. Every now and then I leave out word, misspell a synonim, or forget to insert a words punctuation. See what I did there? No man is infallible, aside from Jesus and Chuck Norris, but I don’t think either of them blog. Jesus did write a pretty good book, though. You should totally read it. Aside from the students in the English Review classes at my college, I try not to be overly critical of others’ writing. I’m an English tutor, in case you’re wondering. I’ll let slide a few pronouns who are missing their antecedents. I don’t mind the occasional comma splice or wrongly inserted semicolon, and I try to overlook the stray confused homophone. 

The Canadians have spies everywhere…

That brings us to the somewhat main point of this post. Yes, it has a point. Strict enforcement of grammar is not as important as a clear conveyance of the message intended. Sometimes, it is raining outside. I must admit, while possessing some sense of grammar has the effect of enhancing one’s communication skills, this skill has its defects. Grammar can be restrictive of style. Conjunctions are not free to reside at the head of sentences, and who made up the rules for the proper usage of dashes? I don’t want to be a perfect grammarian; I just want my readers to understand the message. In this case, I want them  to understand that I value grammar, and I believe they should as well. Translation: learn how to write. 

Writing may not be your forté, but you should do the best that you can. If you don’t, who knows what will happen; maybe I’ll troll you, or maybe you’ll write something that will offend the Grammarian Association of Newfoundland. The members will become so incensed with your lack of grammatical correctness that they will hire someone to do something bad to you. They’d hire mercenaries because grammarians aren’t very powerful people. The members–since they’re Canadian–will most likely hire Eskimos to engage you in an existential conversation on the ethicality of Canadian bacon in a society with public health care. This will be followed by a taunting of the value of the American dollar. The public shame and humiliation that will result could be devastating to your appetite.

So, the next time you are tempted to misuse “their/there/they’re” or needlessly insert a comma, remember the Canadians. They’re watching you… eh.  

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Projections

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There once lived a man who had many dreams. He dreamed so much, in fact, that he was seldom ever awake. Naturally, this did strange things to his metabolism, and he wasn’t the skinniest person to grace the presence of his village. Of course, he lived in a forest village. All people in cool fairy tales do.

This man was a very philosophical dreamer. He dreamt of cats that were both dead and alive, he had visions of caves in which people could see naught but shadows, and he even dreamed of bagels. Obviously, bagels are very philosophical. One day, when he was awake, he decided that he would go for a stroll into town. Town was a grand area. All of the rich, pompous, well-to-do, and educated lived in the town. This was a small town, with the small-town mentality. The ironic thing about the small-town mentality is that the small-towners believe they should treat their small town like a big town. The rich think they are very rich. The pompous are even more inflated than normal. The well-to-do act as if they have nothing to do, and the educated are exceedingly proud of their relative learnedness. Anyway, our man is taking a stroll.

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a large person stroll, but it’s can be quite the humorous sight. Descriptively, it’s one of the most gratifying experiences for an author. There happened to be one there that day. In his words:

I don’t believe I’ve ever seen anything quite like it. The man walked – nay – waddled off of his front porch. The stairs creaked and flexed under his massive boots. I’m sure the wood cursed the day it was born a tree. His jacket was made of a coarse green wool. The black buttons stood out well; he was missing the third from the top. His white undershirt showed through the gap. His pants were made of a black rough cloth. He wore his wide black belt over his jacket. His boots came to between his knee and his ankle, their brown leather was dusty but new-looking from years of non-use. He ambled down the path to the road. He wheezed quietly as he lifted the gate pin, the wrinkles on his forehead creasing slightly as he looked around. He then turned and sauntered into the sunrise, and I got distracted by my breakfast.

Our friend walked down the road towards the town, and he was soon passed by a taxi. The taxi driver, seeing the ample traveler, slowed his horses and waited for the fellow to catch up.
“Hello, my good sir!” he shouted from the box, “Would you like a ride into town?”
“I do believe I would,” replied the rather winded pedestrian.
“Well then, hop in.”
Of course, hopping was out of the question, but our friend managed to mount the carriage and settle into the seats. In the seat opposite him was a very interesting sight.
“Mrs. Amelia Hogg,” said the lady on the other side of the cab.
“James,” our wide-girthed dreamer said, “my name’s James Darke.”

As stated before, Mrs. Amelia was a very interesting looking lady. Tall, thin, and quite round, not at all unlike a pencil, she was clad in a burgundy dress with black frills and buttons. Perched on her head was the strangest scene of all. I say scene, and you shall soon see why. Upon her head sat a nest. Not just any nest, but a nest made of magical bluewood. In the nest were several kittens, an owl, a mouse, and an egg.The owl appeared to James to be very distinguished. He sat upon the nest and observed the kittens as they played a sort of catch with the mouse. The mouse itself was not being harmed; it would, from time to time, escape the kittens and lick itself. Then the game would begin again. The egg sat nearby and did nothing, as eggs often do.

James stared at the hat for a moment, “you have a very interesting headpiece.”
“Well, it helps to entertain fellow taxi riders.”
“I suppose it does.”
“Do you ever entertain, Mr Darke?”
“Oh yes, I entertain my own fancy all of the time.”
“Not quite what I meant. You see, I like to entertain through projection.”
“Projection?”
“Yes, projection of thoughts. It’s a method of viewing others which requires very little interaction and provides great mental entertainment.”
At this James perked up, as much as his rotund figure allowed.
“That sounds right up my alley,” he exclaimed. “I’m a dreamer, you see.”
“Oh, that’s grand! Everyone views certain others this way. Until the projection is replaced, you cannot even think otherwise!”

The conversation droned on for a while longer, but I’ll not bore you with the details. Soon, the taxi arrived in town. Saying farewell, the two parted and went about their respective businesses. James soon became tired and desired to sleep. A nice bench was sitting by a bakery, so he plopped his large frame onto the seat and provided the metalwork with a great deal of added stress. Soon he began dreaming of projections and theories that he had never thought of. “Everyone views someone in an artificial way,” Amelia had said. “Imagine for a moment that you don’t know anyone very well. You’d like to know them, or perhaps they come up in conversation with others. You will base your thoughts, opinions, and even appraisals of that person on your perceived image of them.” A pink kangaroo waltzed by the window. “As you think of these people that you don’t know well, you will begin to form an image of them in your head. You will fill in details where they are lacking. You will predict their actions based on how they respond. You may even insert them into your dreams as filler actors. These people are your projections. They’re quite real inside of your head, but that’s the only place that they exist.” The bench creaks slightly, giving James the illusion that he’s sinking. “It’s fun to provide people with as many skewed samples of yourself as possible. Hence the reason why I wear such a ridiculous hat.”

James awoke with a start. Evidentially, a horse had mistaken his hair as grass and had begun to pull on it. “Well that was odd,” he thought as he walked away, “I don’t think I’ll ever see people anymore.” For you see, we never truly know people, we can only know what we see in them. Someone else may see an entirely different set of attributes from what you see. The projection formed will be quite different from your own. And this is why James went home, ate a large roll of cheese, and didn’t wake up for a week. He met many people in his dreams; some of them were nice, some of them were not, and some of them were even real.